Pathological Interactions Between Mutant Thyroid Hormone Receptors and Corepressors and Their Modulation by a Thyroid Hormone Analogue with Therapeutic Potential

Thyroid. 2018 Dec;28(12):1708-1722. doi: 10.1089/thy.2017.0551. Epub 2018 Oct 16.


Background: Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) are tightly regulated by the corepressors nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR) and silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptors. Three conserved corepressor/NR signature box motifs (CoRNR1-3) forming the nuclear receptor interaction domain have been identified in these corepressors. Whereas TRs regulate multiple normal physiological and developmental pathways, mutations in TRs can result in endocrine diseases and be associated with cancers due to impairment of corepressor release. Three mutants that are located in helix H11 of TRs are of special interest: TRα-M388I, a mutant associated with the development of renal clear cell carcinomas (RCCCs), and TRβ-Δ430 and TRβ-Δ432, two deletion mutants causing resistance to thyroid hormone syndrome.

Methods: Several cell-based and biophysical methods were used to measure the affinity between wild-type and mutant TRα and TRβ and all the CoRNR motifs from corepressors to quantify the effects of different thyroid hormone analogues on these interactions. This study was coupled with the measurement of interactions between wild-type and mutant TRs in the context of a heterodimer with RXR to a NCoR fragment in the presence of the same ligands. Structural insights into the binding mode of corepressors to TRs were assessed in parallel by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Results: The study shows that TRs interact more avidly with the silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptors than with NCoR peptides, and that TRα binds most avidly to S-CoRNR3, whereas TRβ binds preferentially to S-CoRNR2. In the studied TR mutants, a transfer of the CoRNR-specificity toward CoRNR1 was observed, coupled with a significant increase in the binding strength. In contrast to 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), the agonist TRIAC and the antagonist NH-3 were very efficient at dissociating the abnormally strong interactions between mutant TRβs and corepressors. A strong impairment of T3-binding for TRβ mutants was shown compared to TRIAC and NH-3 and could explain the different efficiencies of the different ligands in releasing corepressors from the studied TRβ mutants. Consequently, TRIAC was found to be more effective than T3 in facilitating coactivator recruitment and decreasing the dominant activity of TRβ-Δ430.

Conclusion: This study helps to clarify the specific interaction surfaces involved in the pathologic phenotype of TR mutants and demonstrates that TRIAC is a potential therapeutic agent for patients suffering from resistance to thyroid hormone syndromes.

Keywords: interaction with corepressor; resistance to thyroid hormone; therapeutic application; thyroid hormone analogue; thyroid hormone receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Co-Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / genetics
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors alpha / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors beta / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormone Resistance Syndrome / genetics
  • Thyroid Hormone Resistance Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Hormones / chemistry*


  • Co-Repressor Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors alpha
  • Thyroid Hormone Receptors beta
  • Thyroid Hormones