The role in the activation of microsomal 5′-deiodinase (5′-DI) of rat hepatic cytosolic components of Mr approx. 13,000 (Fraction B) was studied in the presence of various concentrations of thiol compounds such as dithiothreitol (DTT), dihydrolipoamide (DHLA), GSH, and 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME). Although Fraction B (which was prepared by gel filtration to exclude GSH and GSSG) had no intrinsic 5′-DI activity, could not stimulate microsomal 5′-DI activity in the absence of added thiol and did not contain GSH as a mixed disulphide, it could produce a 3-fold increase in the maximal deiodinase activity achievable with DTT as well as other thiols, with the order being the same as the activation potency of these thiols in the absence of Fraction B (i.e. DHLA greater than DTT greater than 2-ME greater than GSH). These observations suggest that: a component of cytosolic Fraction B, designated ‘deiodination factor B’ (DFB), operates as an efficient intermediary to enhance activation of microsomal 5′-DI by thiols through a mechanism independent of GSH; thiols may participate in a non-specific thiol-disulphide exchange with inactive (oxidized) DFB to convert it into an active form that contains one or more thiol groups and is more effective than GSH or other thiols in facilitating the re-activation of inactive (oxidized) microsomal 5′-DI thiol (ESI) to its active state (ESH).

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