Journal of Biomedical Science

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 151–160 | Cite as

Selenocysteine-containing proteins in mammals

  • Vadim N. Gladyshev
  • Dolph L. Hatfield


Since the recent discovery of selenocysteine as the 21st amino acid in protein, the field of selenium biology has rapidly expanded. Twelve mammalian selenoproteins have been characterized to date and each contains selenocysteine that is incorporated in response to specific UGA code words. These selenoproteins have different cellular functions, but in those selenoproteins for which the function is known, selenocysteine is located at the active center. The presence of selenocysteine at critical sites in naturally occurring selenoproteins provides an explanation for the important role of selenium in human health and development. This review describes known mammalian selenoproteins and discusses recent developments and future directions in the selenium field.

Key Words

Selenocysteine Selenoproteins Selenoenzymes Glutathione peroxidase Iodothyronine deiodinase Thioredoxin reductase Selenoprotein P Codon UGA 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vadim N. Gladyshev
    • 2
  • Dolph L. Hatfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on the Molecular Biology of Selenium, Basic Research Laboratory, Division of Basic SciencesNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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