Human selenoproteins at a glance
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Gromer, S., Eubel, J.K., Lee, B.L. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2005) 62: 2414. doi:10.1007/s00018-005-5143-y
- 567 Downloads
The public perception of selenium has changed significantly over the last decades. Originally mainly known for its high toxicity, it was later recognized as an essential trace element and is now (despite its narrow therapeutic window) almost being marketed as a lifestyle drug. Indeed, some clinical and preclinical studies suggest that selenium supplementation may be beneficial in a large number of clinical conditions. However, its mode of action is unresolved in most of these cases. Selenocysteine – identified as the 21st amino acid used in ribosome-mediated protein synthesis – is incorporated in at least 25 specific, genetically determined human selenoproteins, many of which have only recently been discovered. Restoration of normal selenoprotein levels may be – apart from direct supranutritional effects – one possible explanation for the effects of selenium supplements. In this review we provide a brief but up-to-date overview of what is currently known about these 25 acknowledged human selenoproteins and their synthesis.