Hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers exhibit different activities on thyroid hormone receptors depending on their degree of bromination


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Abstract

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been shown to disrupt thyroid hormone (TH) functions in experimental animals, and one of the proposed disruption mechanisms is direct binding of hydroxylated PBDE (OH-PBDE) to TH receptors (TRs). However, previous data on TH receptor binding and TH activity of OH-PBDEs were very limited and sometimes inconsistent. In the present paper, we examined the binding potency of ten OH-PBDEs with different degrees of bromination to TR using a fluorescence competitive binding assay. The results showed that the ten OH-PBDEs bound to TR with potency that correlated to their bromination level. We further examined their effect on TR using a coactivator binding assay and GH3 cell proliferation assay. Different TR activities of OH-PBDEs were observed depending on their degree of bromination. Four low-brominated OH-PBDEs (2′-OH-BDE-28, 3′-OH-BDE-28, 5-OH-BDE-47, 6-OH-BDE-47) were found to be TR agonists, which recruited the coactivator peptide and enhanced GH3 cell proliferation. However, three high-brominated OH-PBDEs (3-OH-BDE-100, 3′-OH-BDE-154, 4-OH-BDE-188) were tested to be antagonists. Molecular docking was employed to simulate the interactions of OH-PBDEs with TR and identify the structural determinants for TR binding and activity. According to the docking results, low-brominated OH-PBDEs, which are weak binders but TR agonists, bind with TR at the inner side of its binding pocket, whereas high-brominated compounds, which are potent binders but TR antagonists, reside at the outer region. These results indicate that OH-PBDEs have different activities on TR (agonistic or antagonistic), possibly due to their different binding geometries with the receptor.Graphical abstractHighlights▸ Thyroid hormone (TH) activity of OH-PBDEs with different Br number was evaluated. ▸ Four different experimental approaches were employed to investigate the mechanism. ▸ Low-brominated OH-PBDEs were agonists, but high-brominated ones were antagonists. ▸ Low-brominated OH-PBDEs bind to TH receptor differently than high-brominated ones.

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