Previous studies have shown that 2-thiouracil derivatives are uncompetitive inhibitors of iodothyronine 5′-deiodinase activity of rat liver microsomal fraction. Therefore the interaction of radioiodinated 6-propyl-2-thiouracil with rat liver microsomal fraction and the effect of substrate, cofactor and other inhibitors of 5′-deiodinase activity activity were investigated. It was found that micromolar concentrations of, in order of increasing potency, 3,5-diiodotyrosine, thyroxine, 3,3′,5′-tri-iodothyronine and 3′,5′-di-iodothyronine significantly enhanced binding of 5-[125I]iodo-6-propyl-2-thiouracil to the enzyme preparation. This stimulation was not seen in the presence of 1 mM dithiothreitol, 0.1 mM-6-propyl-2-thiouracil, 0.1 mM-6-propyl-2-thiouracil, 0.1 M-2-mercapto-1-methylimidazole or 1 mM-sodium sulphite. These results support the hypothesis that thiouracil derivatives inhibit 5′-deiodinase activity by forming a mixed disulphide with an intermediate enzyme complex, probably a sulphenyl iodide.

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