Thyroid hormone action at the cellular level

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Science  09 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4384, pp. 971-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.218285


A large body of circumstantial evidence suggests that the basic unit of thyroid hormone action is the triiodothyronine nuclear receptor complex. This complex stimulates the formation, directly or indirectly, of a diversity of messenger RNA (mRNA) sequences. A generalized increase in mRNA as well as a disproportionate increase in a limited number of RNA sequences have been demonstrated. Regulation of thyroid hormone effects may be carried out largely at a local cellular level. Highly selective alterations in sensitivity to the triiodothyronine nuclear receptor complex may occur at specific target genes. Metabolic factors and hormones participate in such regulation. In a given tissue, alterations in the total number of receptor sites has not been shown to be useful as an index of thyroid hormone response, and local modulation of the response to the triiodothyronine receptor complex by a variety of factors other than triiodothyronine may be carried out at a postreceptor level.