The biliverdin reductase (BVR) isozymes BVRA and BVRB are cell surface membrane receptors with pleiotropic functions. This review compares, for the first time, the structural and functional differences between the isozymes. They reduce biliverdin, a byproduct of heme catabolism, to bilirubin, display kinase activity, and BVRA, but not BVRB, can act as a transcription factor. The binding motifs present in the BVR isozymes allow a wide range of interactions with components of metabolically important signaling pathways such as the insulin receptor kinase cascades, protein kinases (PKs), and inflammatory mediators. In addition, serum bilirubin levels have been negatively associated with abdominal obesity and hypertriglyceridemia. We discuss the roles of the BVR isozymes in metabolism and their potential as therapeutic targets.
- Biliverdin reductase
- Heme oxygenase