Type 2 deiodinase at the crossroads of thyroid hormone action

Rafael Arrojo E Drigo, Antonio C. Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Thyroid hormone action can be customized on a cell-specific fashion through the controlled action of the deiodinase group of enzymes, which are homodimeric thioredoxin fold containing selenoproteins. Whereas the type II deiodinase (D2) initiates thyroid hormone signaling by activating the pro-hormone thyroxine (T4) to the biologically active T3 molecule, the type III deiodinase (D3) terminates thyroid hormone action by catalyzing the inactivation of both T4 and T3 molecules. Deiodinases play a role in thyroid hormone homeostasis, development, growth and metabolic control by affecting the intracellular levels of T3 and thus gene expression on a cell-specific basis. Whereas both Dio2 and Dio3 are transcriptionally regulated, ubiquitination of D2 is a switch mechanism that controls D2 activity and intracellular T3 production. The hedgehog-inducible WSB-1 and the yeast Doa10 mammalian ortholog TEB4 are two E3 ligases that inactivate D2 via ubiquitination. Inactivation involves disruption of the D2:D2 dimer and can be reversed via two ubiquitin-specific proteases, USP20 and USP33, rescuing catalytic activity and T3 production. The ubiquitin-based switch mechanism that controls D2 activity illustrates how different cell types fine-tune thyroid hormone signaling, making D2 a suitable target for pharmacological intervention. This article reviews the cellular and molecular aspects of D2 regulation and the current models of D2-mediated thyroid hormone signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1432-1441
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Deiodinase
  • Dimerization
  • Metabolism
  • Ubiquitination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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