2008 Articles

Papp LV, Wang J, Kennedy D, Boucher D, Zhang Y, Gladyshev VN, Singh RN, Khanna KK. (2008) Functional characterization of alternatively spliced human SECISBP2 transcript variants. Nucleic Acids Res. 36, 7192-7206. 

AbstractSynthesis of selenoproteins depends on decoding of the UGA stop codon as the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec). This process requires the presence of a Sec insertion sequence element (SECIS) in the 3-untranslated region of selenoprotein mRNAs and its interaction with the SECIS binding protein 2 (SBP2). In humans, mutations in the SBP2-encoding gene Sec insertion sequence binding protein 2 (SECISBP2) that alter the amino acid sequence or cause splicing defects lead to abnormal thyroid hormone metabolism. Herein, we present the first in silico and in vivo functional characterization of alternative splicing of SECISBP2. We report a complex splicing pattern in the 5-region of human SECISBP2, wherein at least eight splice variants encode five isoforms with varying N-terminal sequence. One of the isoforms, mtSBP2, contains a mitochondrial targeting sequence and localizes to mitochondria. Using a minigene-based in vivo splicing assay we characterized the splicing efficiency of several alternative transcripts, and show that the splicing event that creates mtSBP2 can be modulated by antisense oligonucleotides. Moreover, we show that full-length SBP2 and some alternatively spliced variants are subject to a coordinated transcriptional and translational regulation in response to ultraviolet type A irradiation-induced stress. Overall, our data broadens the functional scope of a housekeeping protein essential to selenium metabolism. More Information

Lee BC, Le DT, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Mammals reduce methionine-S-sulfoxide with MsrA, are unable to reduce methionine-R-sulfoxide, and this function can be restored with a yeast reductase. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 28361-28369. 

AbstractMethionine is an essential amino acid in mammals at the junction of methylation, protein synthesis and sulfur pathways. However, this amino acid is highly susceptible to oxidation, resulting in a mixture of methionine-S-sulfoxide and methionine-R-sulfoxide. Whether methionine is quantitatively regenerated from these compounds is unknown. Here we report that SK-Hep1 hepatocytes grew on methionine-S-sulfoxide and consumed this compound by import and methionine-S-sulfoxide reductase (MsrA)-dependent reduction, but methionine-R-sulfoxide reductases (MsrBs) were not involved in this process and methionine-R-sulfoxide could not be used by the cells. However, SK-Hep1 cells expressing a yeast free methionine-R-sulfoxide reductase (fRMsr) proliferated in the presence of either sulfoxide, reduced them and showed increased resistance to oxidative stress. Only methionine-R-sulfoxide was detected in plasma of wild-type mice, but both sulfoxides in plasma of MsrA knockout mice. These results show that mammals can support methionine metabolism by reduction of methionine-S-sulfoxide, that this process is dependent on MsrA, that mammals are inherently deficient in the reduction of methionine-R-sulfoxide, and that expression of yeast fRMsr can fully compensate for this deficiency. More Information

Fomenko DE, Marino SM, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Functional Diversity of Cysteine Residues in Proteins and Unique Features of Catalytic Redox-Active Cysteines in Thiol Oxidoreductases. Mol. Cells 26, 228-235. 

AbstractThiol-dependent redox systems are involved in regulation of diverse biological processes, such as response to stress, signal transduction, and protein folding. The thiol-based redox control is provided by mechanistically similar, but structurally distinct families of enzymes known as thiol oxidoreductases. Many such enzymes have been characterized, but identities and functions of the entire sets of thiol oxidoreductases in organisms are not known. Extreme sequence and structural divergence makes identification of these proteins difficult. All thiol oxidoreductases contain a redox-active cysteine residue, or its functional analog selenocysteine, in their active sites. Here, we describe computational methods for in silico prediction of thiol oxidoreductases in nucleotide and protein sequence databases and identification of their redox-active cysteines. We discuss different functional categories of cysteine residues, describe methods for discrimination between catalytic and noncatalytic and between redox and non-redox cysteine residues and highlight unique properties of the redox-active cysteines based on evolutionary conservation, secondary and three-dimensional structures, and sporadic replacement of cysteines with catalytically superior selenocysteine residues. More Information

Shrimali RK, Irons RD, Carlson BA, Sano Y, Gladyshev VN, Park JM, Hatfield DL. (2008) Selenoproteins mediate T cell immunity through an antioxidant mechanism. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 20181-20185. 

AbstractSelenium is an essential dietary element with antioxidant roles in immune regulation, but there is little understanding of how this element acts at the molecular level in host defense and inflammatory disease. Selenium is incorporated into the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec), which in turn is inserted into selenoproteins in a manner dependent on Sec tRNA([Ser]Sec). To investigate the molecular mechanism that links selenium to T cell immunity, we generated mice with selenoprotein-less T cells by cell type-specific ablation of the Sec tRNA([Ser]Sec) gene (trsp). Herein, we show that these mutant mice exhibit decreased pools of mature T cells and a defect in T cell-dependent antibody responses. We also demonstrate that selenoprotein deficiency leads to oxidant hyperproduction in T cells and thereby suppresses T cell proliferation in response to T cell receptor stimulation. These findings offer novel insights into immune function of selenium and physiological antioxidants. More Information

Sengupta A, Carlson BA, Weaver JA, Novoselov SV, Fomenko DE, Gladyshev VN, Hatfield DL. (2008) A functional link between housekeeping selenoproteins and phase II enzymes. Biochem. J. 413, 151-161. 

AbstractSec (selenocysteine) is biosynthesized on its tRNA and incorporated into selenium-containing proteins (selenoproteins) as the 21st amino acid residue. Selenoprotein synthesis is dependent on Sec tRNA and the expression of this class of proteins can be modulated by altering Sec tRNA expression. The gene encoding Sec tRNA (Trsp) is a single-copy gene and its targeted removal in liver demonstrated that selenoproteins are essential for proper function wherein their absence leads to necrosis and hepatocellular degeneration. In the present study, we found that the complete loss of selenoproteins in liver was compensated for by an enhanced expression of several phase II response genes and their corresponding gene products. The replacement of selenoprotein synthesis in mice carrying mutant Trsp transgenes, wherein housekeeping, but not stress-related selenoproteins are expressed, led to normal expression of phase II response genes. Thus the present study provides evidence for a functional link between housekeeping selenoproteins and phase II enzymes. More Information

Bonilla M, Denicola A, Novoselov SV, Turanov AA, Protasio A, Izmendi D, Gladyshev VN, Salinas G. (2008) Platyhelminth mitochondrial and cytosolic redox homeostasis is controlled by a single thioredoxin glutathione reductase and dependent on selenium and glutathione. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 17898-17907. 

AbstractPlatyhelminth parasites are a major health problem in developing countries. In contrast to their mammalian hosts, platyhelminth thiol-disulfide redox homeostasis relies on linked thioredoxin-glutathione systems, which are fully dependent on thioredoxin-glutathione reductase (TGR), a promising drug target. TGR is a homodimeric enzyme comprising a glutaredoxin domain and thioredoxin reductase (TR) domains with a C-terminal redox center containing selenocysteine (Sec). In this study, we demonstrate the existence of functional linked thioredoxin-glutathione systems in the cytosolic and mitochondrial compartments of Echinococcus granulosus, the platyhelminth responsible for hydatid disease. The glutathione reductase (GR) activity of TGR exhibited hysteretic behavior regulated by the [GSSG]/[GSH] ratio. This behavior was associated with glutathionylation by GSSG and abolished by deglutathionylation. The K(m) and k(cat) values for mitochondrial and cytosolic thioredoxins (9.5 microm and 131 s(-1), 34 microm and 197 s(-1), respectively) were higher than those reported for mammalian TRs. Analysis of TGR mutants revealed that the glutaredoxin domain is required for the GR activity but did not affect the TR activity. In contrast, both GR and TR activities were dependent on the Sec-containing redox center. The activity loss caused by the Sec-to-Cys mutation could be partially compensated by a Cys-to-Sec mutation of the neighboring residue, indicating that Sec can support catalysis at this alternative position. Consistent with the essential role of TGR in redox control, 2.5 microm auranofin, a known TGR inhibitor, killed larval worms in vitro. These studies establish the selenium- and glutathione-dependent regulation of cytosolic and mitochondrial redox homeostasis through a single TGR enzyme in platyhelminths. More Information

Zhang Y, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Molybdoproteomes and evolution of molybdenum utilization. J. Mol. Biol. 379, 881-899. 

AbstractThe trace element molybdenum (Mo) is utilized in many life forms, and it is a key component of several enzymes involved in nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon metabolism. With the exception of nitrogenase, Mo is bound in proteins to a pterin, thus forming the molybdenum cofactor (Moco) at the catalytic sites of molybdoenzymes. Although a number of molybdoenzymes are well characterized structurally and functionally, evolutionary analyses of Mo utilization are limited. Here, we carried out comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses to examine the occurrence and evolution of Mo utilization in bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes at the level of (i) Mo transport and Moco utilization trait, and (ii) Mo-dependent enzymes. Our results revealed that most prokaryotes and all higher eukaryotes utilize Mo whereas many unicellular eukaryotes including parasites and most yeasts lost the ability to use this metal. In addition, eukaryotes have fewer molybdoenzyme families than prokaryotes. Dimethylsulfoxide reductase (DMSOR) and sulfite oxidase (SO) families were the most widespread molybdoenzymes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, respectively. A distant group of the ModABC transport system, was predicted in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrobaculum. ModE-type regulation of Mo uptake occurred in less than 30% of Moco-utilizing organisms. A link between Mo and selenocysteine utilization in prokaryotes was also identified wherein the selenocysteine trait was largely a subset of the Mo trait, presumably due to formate dehydrogenase, a Mo- and selenium-containing protein. Finally, analysis of environmental conditions and organisms that do or do not depend on Mo revealed that host-associated organisms and organisms with low G+C content tend to reduce their Mo utilization. Overall, our data provide new insights into Mo utilization and show its wide occurrence, yet limited use of this metal in individual organisms in all three domains of life. More Information

Zhang Y, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Trends in selenium utilization in marine microbial world revealed through the analysis of the global ocean sampling (GOS) project. PLoS Genet. 4, e1000095, 1-20. 

AbstractSelenium is an important trace element that occurs in proteins in the form of selenocysteine (Sec) and in tRNAs in the form of selenouridine. Recent large-scale metagenomics projects provide an opportunity for understanding global trends in trace element utilization. Herein, we characterized the selenoproteome of the microbial marine community derived from the Global Ocean Sampling (GOS) expedition. More than 3,600 selenoprotein gene sequences belonging to 58 protein families were detected, including sequences representing 7 newly identified selenoprotein families, such as homologs of ferredoxin-thioredoxin reductase and serine protease. In addition, a new eukaryotic selenoprotein family, thiol reductase GILT, was identified. Most GOS selenoprotein families originated from Cys-containing thiol oxidoreductases. In both Pacific and Atlantic microbial communities, SelW-like and SelD were the most widespread selenoproteins. Geographic location had little influence on Sec utilization as measured by selenoprotein variety and the number of selenoprotein genes detected; however, both higher temperature and marine (as opposed to freshwater and other aquatic) environment were associated with increased use of this amino acid. Selenoproteins were also detected with preference for either environment. We identified novel fusion forms of several selenoproteins that highlight redox activities of these proteins. Almost half of Cys-containing SelDs were fused with NADH dehydrogenase, whereas such SelD forms were rare in terrestrial organisms. The selenouridine utilization trait was also analyzed and showed an independent evolutionary relationship with Sec utilization. Overall, our study provides insights into global trends in microbial selenium utilization in marine environments. More Information 

See commentary in: Eisen JA. (2008) Open Metagenomics: Selenium in the Oceans. Commentary
Zhang Y, Turanov AA, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. (2008) In silico identification of genes involved in selenium metabolism: evidence for a third selenium utilization trait. BMC Genomics 9, 251. 

AbstractBACKGROUND: Selenium (Se) is a trace element that occurs in proteins in the form of selenocysteine (Sec) and in tRNAs in the form of selenouridine (SeU). Selenophosphate synthetase (SelD) is required for both utilization traits. However, previous research also revealed SelDs in two organisms lacking Sec and SeU, suggesting a possible additional use of Se that is dependent on SelD. RESULTS: In this study, we conducted comparative genomics and phylogenetic analyses to characterize genes involved in Se utilization. Candidate genes identified included SelA/SelB and YbbB that define Sec and SeU pathways, respectively, and NADH oxidoreductase that is predicted to generate a SelD substrate. In addition, among 227 organisms containing SelD, 10 prokaryotes were identified that lacked SelA/SelB and YbbB. Investigation of selD neighboring genes in these organisms revealed a SirA-like protein and two hypothetical proteins HP1 and HP2 that were strongly linked to a novel Se utilization. With these new signature proteins, 32 bacteria and archaea were found that utilized these proteins, likely as part of the new Se utilization trait. Metabolic labeling of one organism containing an orphan SelD, Enterococcus faecalis, with 75Se revealed a protein containing labile Se species that could be released by treatment with reducing agents, suggesting non-Sec utilization of Se in this organism. CONCLUSION: These studies suggest the occurrence of a third Se utilization trait in bacteria and archaea. More Information

Le DT, Liang X, Fomenko DE, Raza AS, Chong CK, Carlson BA, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Analysis of Methionine/Selenomethionine Oxidation and Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase Function Using Methionine-Rich Proteins and Antibodies against Their Oxidized Forms. Biochemistry 47, 6685-6694. 

AbstractMethionine (Met) residues are present in most proteins. However, this sulfur-containing amino acid is highly susceptible to oxidation. In cells, the resulting Met sulfoxides are reduced back to Met by stereospecific reductases MsrA and MsrB. Reversible Met oxidation occurs even in the absence of stress, is elevated during aging and disease, but is notoriously difficult to monitor. In this work, we computationally identified natural Met-rich proteins (MRPs) and characterized three such proteins containing 21-33% Met residues. Oxidation of multiple Met residues in MRPs with H 2O 2 and reduction of Met sulfoxides with MsrA/MsrB dramatically influenced the mobility of these proteins on polyacrylamide gels and could be monitored by simple SDS-PAGE. We further prepared antibodies enriched for reduced and Met sulfoxide forms of these proteins and used them to monitor Met oxidation and reduction by immunoblot assays. We describe applications of these reagents for the analysis of MsrA and MsrB functions, as well as the development of the assay for high-throughput analysis of their activities. We also show that all Met sulfoxide residues in an MRP can be reduced by MsrA and MsrB. Furthermore, we prepared a selenomethionine form of an MRP and found that selenomethionine selenoxide residues can be efficiently reduced nonenzymatically by glutathione and other thiol compounds. Selenomethionine selenoxide residues were not recognized by antibodies specific for the Met sulfoxide form of an MRP. These findings, reagents, assays, and approaches should facilitate research and applications in the area of Met sulfoxide reduction, oxidative stress, and aging. More Information

Ganichkin OM, Xu XM, Carlson BA, Mix H, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN, Wahl MC. (2008) Structure and catalytic mechanism of eukaryotic selenocysteine synthase. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 5849-5865. 

AbstractIn eukaryotes and Archaea, selenocysteine synthase (SecS) converts O-phospho-L-seryl-tRNA [Ser]Sec into selenocysteyl-tRNA [Ser]Sec using selenophosphate as the selenium donor compound. The molecular mechanisms underlying SecS activity are presently unknown. We have delineated a 450-residue core of mouse SecS, which retained full selenocysteyl-tRNA [Ser]Sec synthesis activity, and determined its crystal structure at 1.65 A resolution. SecS exhibits three domains that place it in the fold type I family of pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes. Two SecS monomers interact intimately and together build up two identical active sites around PLP in a Schiff-base linkage with lysine 284. Two SecS dimers further associate to form a homotetramer. The N terminus, which mediates tetramer formation, and a large insertion that remodels the active site set SecS aside from other members of the family. The active site insertion contributes to PLP binding and positions a glutamate next to the PLP, where it could repel substrates with a free alpha-carboxyl group, suggesting why SecS does not act on free O-phospho-l-serine. Upon soaking crystals in phosphate buffer, a previously disordered loop within the active site insertion contracted to form a phosphate binding site. Residues that are strictly conserved in SecS orthologs but variant in related enzymes coordinate the phosphate and upon mutation corrupt SecS activity. Modeling suggested that the phosphate loop accommodates the gamma-phosphate moiety of O-phospho-l-seryl-tRNA [Ser]Sec and, after phosphate elimination, binds selenophosphate to initiate attack on the proposed aminoacrylyl-tRNA [Ser]Sec intermediate. Based on these results and on the activity profiles of mechanism-based inhibitors, we offer a detailed reaction mechanism for the enzyme. More Information

Zhang Y, Zhou Y, Schweizer U, Savaskan NE, Hua D, Kipnis J, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Comparative analysis of selenocysteine machinery and selenoproteome gene expression in mouse brain identifies neurons as key functional sites of selenium in mammals. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 2427-2438. 

AbstractAlthough dietary selenium (Se) deficiency results in phenotypes associated with selenoprotein depletion in various organs, the brain is protected from Se loss. To address the basis for the critical role of Se in brain function, we carried out comparative gene expression analyses for the complete selenoproteome and associated biosynthetic factors. Using the Allen Brain Atlas, we evaluated 159 regions of adult mouse brain and provided experimental analyses of selected selenoproteins. All 24 selenoprotein mRNAs were expressed in the mouse brain. Most strikingly, neurons in olfactory bulb, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellar cortex were exceptionally rich in selenoprotein gene expression, in particular in GPx4, SelK, SelM, SelW, and Sep15. Over half of the selenoprotein genes were also expressed in the choroid plexus. A unique expression pattern was observed for one of the highly expressed selenoprotein genes, SelP, which we suggest to provide neurons with Se. Cluster analysis of the expression data linked certain selenoproteins and selenocysteine machinery genes and suggested functional linkages among selenoproteins, such as that between SelM and Sep15. Overall, this study suggests that the main functions of selenium in mammals are confined to certain neurons in the brain. More Information

Sengupta A, Carlson BA, Hoffmann VJ, Gladyshev VN, Hatfield DL. (2008) Loss of housekeeping selenoprotein expression in mouse liver modulates lipoprotein metabolism. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 365, 446-452. 

AbstractSelenium is incorporated into proteins as selenocysteine (Sec), which is dependent on its specific tRNA, designated tRNA([Ser]Sec). Targeted removal of the tRNA([Ser]Sec) gene (Trsp) in mouse hepatocytes previously demonstrated the importance of selenoproteins in liver function. Herein, analysis of plasma proteins in this Trsp knockout mouse revealed increases in apolipoprotein E (ApoE) that was accompanied by elevated plasma cholesterol levels. The expression of genes involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, metabolism and transport were also altered in knockout mice. Additionally, in two transgenic Trsp mutant mouse lines (wherein only housekeeping selenoprotein synthesis was restored), the expression of ApoE, as well as genes involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, metabolism and transport were similar to those observed in wild type mice. These data correlate with reports that selenium deficiency results in increased levels of ApoE, indicating for the first time that housekeeping selenoproteins have a role in regulating lipoprotein biosynthesis and metabolism. More Information

Ridge PG, Zhang Y, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Comparative Genomic Analyses of Copper Transporters and Cuproproteomes Reveal Evolutionary Dynamics of Copper Utilization and Its Link to Oxygen. PLOS ONE 3, e1378, 1-9. 

AbstractCopper is an essential trace element in many organisms and is utilized in all domains of life. It is often used as a cofactor of redox proteins, but is also a toxic metal ion. Intracellular copper must be carefully handled to prevent the formation of reactive oxygen species which pose a threat to DNA, lipids, and proteins. In this work, we examined patterns of copper utilization in prokaryotes by analyzing the occurrence of copper transporters and copper-containing proteins. Many organisms, including those that lack copper-dependent proteins, had copper exporters, likely to protect against copper ions that inadvertently enter the cell. We found that copper use is widespread among prokaryotes, but also identified several phyla that lack cuproproteins. This is in contrast to the use of other trace elements, such as selenium, which shows more scattered and reduced usage, yet larger selenoproteomes. Copper transporters had different patterns of occurrence than cuproproteins, suggesting that the pathways of copper utilization and copper detoxification are independent of each other. We present evidence that organisms living in oxygen-rich environments utilize copper, whereas the majority of anaerobic organisms do not. In addition, among copper users, cuproproteomes of aerobic organisms were larger than those of anaerobic organisms. Prokaryotic cuproproteomes were small and dominated by a single protein, cytochrome c oxidase. The data are consistent with the idea that proteins evolved to utilize copper following the oxygenation of the Earth. More Information

Lobanov AV, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Reduced reliance on the trace element selenium during evolution of mammals. Genome Biol. 9, R62. 

AbstractBACKGROUND: Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element that occurs in proteins in the form of selenocysteine (Sec). It is transported throughout the body in the form of Sec residues in Selenoprotein P (SelP), a plasma protein of unclear origin recently proposed as an experimental marker of dietary Se status. RESULTS: Here, we report that the amino-terminal domain of SelP is distantly related to ancestral bacterial thiol oxidoreductases of the thioredoxin superfamily, and that its carboxy-terminal Se transport domain may have originated in early metazoan evolution by de novo accumulation of Sec residues. Reconstruction of evolutionary changes in the Se transport domain indicates a decrease in Sec content of SelP specifically in the mammalian lineage via replacement of Sec with cysteine (Cys). Sec content of mammalian SelPs varies more than two-fold and is lowest in rodents and primates. Compared to mammals, fish show higher Sec content of SelP, larger selenoproteomes, elevated SelP gene expression, and higher levels of tissue Se. In addition, mammals replaced Sec with Cys in several proteins and lost several selenoproteins altogether, whereas such events are not found in fish. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that evolution from fish to mammals was accompanied by decreased use of Sec and that analyses of SelP, selenoproteomes and Sec/Cys transitions provide a genetic marker of utilization of this trace element in vertebrates. The evolved reduced reliance on Se raises questions regarding the need to maximize selenoprotein expression by Se dietary supplements in situations when pathology is not imminent, a currently accepted practice. More Information

Castellano S, Gladyshev VN, Guig√≥ R, Berry MJ. (2008) SelenoDB 1.0 : a database of selenoprotein genes, proteins and SECIS elements. Nucleic Acids Res. 36, D332-338. 

AbstractSelenoproteins are a diverse group of proteins usually misidentified and misannotated in sequence databases. The presence of an in-frame UGA (stop) codon in the coding sequence of selenoprotein genes precludes their identification and correct annotation. The in-frame UGA codons are recoded to cotranslationally incorporate selenocysteine, a rare selenium-containing amino acid. The development of ad hoc experimental and, more recently, computational approaches have allowed the efficient identification and characterization of the selenoproteomes of a growing number of species. Today, dozens of selenoprotein families have been described and more are being discovered in recently sequenced species, but the correct genomic annotation is not available for the majority of these genes. SelenoDB is a long-term project that aims to provide, through the collaborative effort of experimental and computational researchers, automatic and manually curated annotations of selenoprotein genes, proteins and SECIS elements. Version 1.0 of the database includes an initial set of eukaryotic genomic annotations, with special emphasis on the human selenoproteome, for immediate inspection by selenium researchers or incorporation into more general databases. SelenoDB is freely available at http://www.selenodb.org. More Information

Lobanov AV, Hatfield DL, Gladyshev VN. (2008) Selenoproteinless animals: Selenophosphate synthetase SPS1 functions in a pathway unrelated to selenocysteine biosynthesis. Protein Sci. 17, 176-182. 

AbstractProteins containing the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine (Sec), have been described in all three domains of life, but the composition of selenoproteomes in organisms varies significantly. Here, we report that aquatic arthropods possess many selenoproteins also detected in other animals and unicellular eukaryotes, and that most of these proteins were either lost or replaced with cysteine-containing homologs in insects. As a result of this selective selenoproteome reduction, fruit flies and mosquitoes have three known selenoproteins, and the honeybee, Apis mellifera, a single detected candidate selenoprotein. Moreover, we identified the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, and the silkworm, Bombyx mori, as the first animals that lack any Sec-containing proteins. These insects also lost the Sec biosynthesis and insertion machinery, but selenophosphate synthetase 1 (SPS1), an enzyme previously implicated in Sec biosynthesis, is present in all insects, including T. castaneum and B. mori. These data indicate that SPS1 functions in a pathway unrelated to selenoprotein synthesis. Since SPS1 evolved from a protein that utilizes selenium for Sec biosynthesis, an attractive possibility is that SPS1 may define a new pathway of selenium utilization in animals. More Information

Glass RS, Berry MJ, Block E, Boakye HT, Carlson BA, Gailer J, George GN, Gladyshev VN, Hatfield DL, Jacobsen NE, Johnson S, Kahakachchi C, Kaminski R, Manley SA, Mix H, Pickering IJ, Prenner EJ, Saira K, Skowronska A, Tyson JF, Uden PC, Wu Q, Xu X-M, Yamdagni R, Zhang Y. (2008) Insights into the Chemical Biology of Selenium. Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Silicon and the Related Elements 183, 924-930. 

AbstractThe long-sought pathway by which selenocysteyl-tRNA[Ser]Sec is synthesized in eukaryotes has been revealed. Seryl-tRNA[Ser]Sec is O-phosphorylated and SecS, a pyridoxal phosphate-dependent protein, catalyzes the reaction of O-phosphoseryltRNA[Ser]Sec with monoselenophosphate to give selenocysteyl-tRNA[Ser]Sec . 1H-{77Se} HMQC-TOCSY NMR spectroscopy has been developed to detect the selenium-containing amino acids present in selenized yeast after protease XIV digestion. An archived selenized yeast sample is found to contain the novel amino acid S-(methylseleno)cysteine in addition to selenomethionine. Arsenite and selenite react with GSH to form (GS)2AsSe-. The structure of this compound has been determined by EXAFS, 77Se NMR and Raman spectroscopic and chromatographic studies. Its formation under biological conditions has been demonstrated. More Information