Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 189–195 | Cite as

The Thioredoxin-Like Family of Selenoproteins: Implications in Aging and Age-Related Degeneration

  • Li Zhang
  • Jian-Hong Zhu
  • Xiong Zhang
  • Wen-Hsing ChengEmail author


The thioredoxin-like (Rdx) family proteins contain four selenoproteins (selenoprotein H, SELENOH; selenoprotein T, SELENOT; selenoprotein V, SELENOV; selenoprotein W, SELENOW) and a nonselenoprotein Rdx12. They share a CxxU or a CxxC (C, cysteine; x, any amino acid; U, selenocysteine) motif and a stretch of eGxFEI(V) sequence. From the evolutionary perspective, SELENOW and SELENOV are clustered together and SELENOH and SELENOT are in another branch. Selenoproteins in the Rdx family exhibit tissue- and organelle-specific distribution and are differentially influenced in response to selenium deficiency. While SELENOH is nucleus-exclusive, SELENOT resides mainly in endoplasmic reticulum and SELENOW in cytosol. SELENOV is expressed essentially only in the testes with unknown cellular localization. SELENOH and SELENOW are more sensitive than SELENOT and SELENOV to selenium deficiency. While physiological functions of the Rdx family of selenoproteins are not fully understand, results from animal models demonstrated that (1) brain-specific SELENOT knockout mice are susceptible to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced Parkinson’s disease in association with redox imbalance and (2) adult zebrafishes with heterozygous SELENOH knockout are prone to dimethylbenzanthracene-induced tumorigenesis together with increased DNA damage and oxidative stress. Further animal and human studies are needed to fully understand physiological roles of the Rdx family of selenoproteins in redox regulation, genome maintenance, aging, and age-related degeneration.


Selenium Selenoprotein H Selenoprotein T Selenoprotein W Selenoprotein V 


Funding information

This study is financially supported in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Multistate NE1439, accession no. 1008124, project no. MIS-384050), National Natural Science Foundation of China (81771510 to X Zhang), and Wenzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau (C20170003 to JH Zhu).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian-Hong Zhu
    • 3
    • 4
  • Xiong Zhang
    • 4
  • Wen-Hsing Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health PromotionMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  2. 2.Department of Poultry ScienceMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Public HealthWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Geriatrics and Neurology, The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s HospitalWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina

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