Research ArticleEndocrinology

Nongenomic Thyroid Hormone Signaling Occurs Through a Plasma Membrane–Localized Receptor

Science Signaling  20 May 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 326, pp. ra48
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004911

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Rapidly Promoting Bone Growth from the Membrane

Thyroid hormones regulate many processes, including bone turnover. By entering cells and binding to nuclear receptors, thyroid hormones induce target gene expression; however, they also stimulate rapid cellular changes that are independent of gene regulation. Kalyanaraman et al. found an alternative form of the thyroid receptor that associated with the cellular plasma membrane of bone cells. Stimulation of this receptor by thyroid hormones increased the numbers of bone cells and protected them from death. Treatment of mice deficient in thyroid hormones with a compound that mimicked signaling from this membrane-associated receptor reversed defects in bone formation, suggesting that this form of thyroid hormone action may be clinically relevant.