The bioactivity of thyroid hormone is determined to a large extent by the monodeiodination of the prohormone thyroxine (T4) by the hepatic selenoenzyme type I iodothyronine deiodinase (D1), i.e. by outer ring deiodination (ORD) to the active hormone triiodothyronine (T3) or by inner ring deiodination (IRD) to the inactive metabolite reverse T3 (rT3). Since D1 is a membrane-bound protein with an N-terminal membrane-spanning domain, the enzyme is very difficult to purify in an active state. This study was undertaken in order to develop a heterologous (over)-expression system that would eventually allow the production of large amounts of purified active D1 protein. We have expressed a mutant rat D1 protein, in which the selenocysteine residue in the core catalytic center was replaced by cysteine (D1 Cys) in yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). After yeast cell fractionation, kinetic analysis was performed with dithiothreitol as reducing cofactor. ORD activity was associated with membrane fractions, while no activity could be detected in the cytosolic fraction. The D1 Cys protein displayed a tenfold increase in Km (2 microM) for rT3 as compared with native D1 protein in rat liver microsomes. The D1 protein content is about 65 pmol/mg microsomal protein, as compared with about 3 pmol/mg in rat liver microsomal fraction. SDS-PAGE analysis of N-bromoacetyl-[125I]T3 affinity-labeled D1 protein showed several labeled protein isoforms with apparent molecular masses between 27 and 32 kDa. Immunoblot analysis with a specific D1 antiserum confirmed the observed D1 protein heterogeneity. Site-directed mutagenesis of several potential N-linked glycosylation sites, phosphorylation sites and a unique myristoylation site established that D1 heterogeneity is not caused by N-linked glycosylation, but probably by a combination of O-linked glycosylation and phosphorylation. Deletion of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-signal sequence and the membrane-spanning domain (amino acid residue 2-35), did not result in the production of a soluble D1 enzyme. Although this mutated D1 protein is inactive, the fact that it is still membrane bound indicates the existence of additional membrane attachment site(s) or membrane-spanning domains. Overall, our studies indicate that yeast cells provide a useful system for the expression of relatively high levels of D1 protein which could be used for further structure-function analysis.

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Keywords Animals, Base Sequence, Cell Membrane/metabolism, DNA Primers, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Iodide Peroxidase/*genetics/metabolism, Kinetics, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Rats, Recombinant Proteins/genetics/metabolism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae/*genetics, Subcellular Fractions/metabolism
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Kuiper, G.G.J.M., Klootwijk, W., & Visser, T.J.. (2005). Expression of recombinant membrane-bound type I iodothyronine deiodinase in yeast.. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, 34(3), 865–878. doi:10.1677/jme.1.01770