A selenoprotein is any protein that includes a selenocysteine residue. Selenoproteins exist in all major forms of life, eukaryote, bacteria and archaea. Among eukaryotes, selenoproteins appear to be common in animals, but rare or absent in other phyla (one has been identified in the green alga "Chlamydomonas", but none in other plants or in fungi). Among bacteria and archaea, selenoproteins are only present in some lineages, while they are completely absent in many other phylogenetic groups. These observations have recently been confirmed by whole genome analysis, which shows the presence or absence of selenoprotein genes and accessory genes for the synthesis of selenoproteins in the respective organism.

Besides the selenocysteine-containing selenoproteins, there are also some selenoproteins known from bacterial species, which have selenium bound non-covalently. Most of these proteins are thought to contain a selenide-ligand to a molybdopterin cofactor at their active sites (e. g. nicotinate dehydrogenase of "Eubacterium barkeri", or xanthine dehydrogenases). Selenium is also specifically incorporated into modified bases of some tRNAs (as 2-seleno-5-methylaminomethyl-uridine).

In addition, selenium occurs in proteins as unspecifically incorporated selenomethionine, which replaces methionine residues. Proteins containing such unspecifically incorporated selenomethionine residues are not regarded as selenoproteins. However, replacement of all methionines by selenomethionines is a widely used recent technique in solving the phase problem during X-ray crystallographic structure determination of many proteins (MAD-phasing). While the exchange of methionines by selenomethionines appears to be tolerated (at least in bacterial cells), unspecific incorporation of selenocysteine in lieu of cysteine seems to be highly toxic. This may be one reason for the existence of a rather complicated pathway of selenocysteine biosynthesis and specific incorporation into selenoproteins, which avoids the occurrence of the free amino acid as intermediate. Thus, even if a selenocysteine-containing selenoprotein is taken up in the diet and used as selenium-source, the amino acid has to be degraded prior to synthesising a new selenocysteine for incorporation into a selenoprotein.

Selenium is a vital nutrient in animals and humans. About 25 different selenocysteine-containing selenoproteins have so far been observed in human cells and tissues. Since lack of selenium deprives the cell's ability to synthesize selenoproteins, many health effects of low selenium intake are believed to be caused by the lack of on or more specific selenoproteins. In fact, 3 selenoproteins, TR1, TR3 and GPx4, have been shown to be essential in mice knockout experiments. On the other side, too much selenium in the diet causes toxic effects and leads to selenium poisoning. The threshold between essential and toxic concentrations of this element is rather narrow (the factor is in the range of 10-100).



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • selenoprotein — noun Any of many proteins that includes a selenocysteine residue …   Wiktionary

  • SEPP1 — Selenoprotein P, plasma, 1, also known as SEPP1, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SEPP1 selenoprotein P, plasma, 1| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=6414| accessdate = ] PBB… …   Wikipedia

  • SEPN1 — Selenoprotein N, 1 Identifiers Symbols SEPN1; FLJ24021; MDRS1; RSMD1; RSS; SELN External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • SEPW1 — Selenoprotein W, 1, also known as SEPW1, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SEPW1 selenoprotein W, 1| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=6415| accessdate = ] PBB Summary section… …   Wikipedia

  • SELS (gene) — Selenoprotein S, also known as SELS, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SELS selenoprotein S| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=55829| accessdate = ] PBB Summary section title =… …   Wikipedia

  • SEPX1 — Selenoprotein X, 1, also known as SEPX1, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SEPX1 selenoprotein X, 1| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=51734| accessdate = ] PBB Summary section… …   Wikipedia

  • SELT — Selenoprotein T, also known as SELT, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SELT selenoprotein T| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=51714| accessdate = ] PBB Summary section title =… …   Wikipedia

  • Selenarmut — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 E59 Alimentärer Selenmangel E64.8 Folgen sonstiger alimentärer Mangelzustände …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Selenmangel — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 E59 Alimentärer Selenmangel E64.8 Folgen sonstiger alimentärer Mangelzustände …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • SEP15 — 15 kDa selenoprotein, also known as SEP15, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SEP15 15 kDa selenoprotein| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=9403| accessdate = ] PBB Summary section …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.