In astrocytes, thyroxine modulates type II iodothyronine 5'-deiodinase levels by initiating the binding of the endosomes containing the enzyme to microfilaments, followed by actin-based endocytosis. Myosin V is a molecular motor thought to participate in vesicle trafficking in the brain. In this report, we developed an in vitro actin-binding assay to characterize the thyroid hormone-dependent binding of endocytotic vesicles to microfilaments. Thyroxine and reverse triiodothyronine (EC(50) levels approximately 1 nm) were >100-fold more potent than 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine in initiating vesicle binding to actin fibers in vitro. Thyroxine-dependent vesicle binding was calcium-, magnesium-, and ATP-dependent, suggesting the participation of one or more myosin motors, presumably myosin V. Addition of the myosin V globular tail, lacking the actin-binding head, specifically blocked thyroid hormone-dependent vesicle binding, and direct binding of the myosin V tail to enzyme-containing endosomes was thyroxine-dependent. Progressive NH(2)-terminal deletion of the myosin V tail and domain-specific antibody inhibition studies revealed that the thyroxine-dependent vesicle-tethering domain was localized to the last 21 amino acids of the COOH terminus. These data show that myosin V is responsible for thyroid hormone-dependent binding of primary endosomes to the microfilaments and suggest that this motor mediates the actin-based endocytosis of the type II iodothyronine deiodinase.