Selenoproteins in Prokaryotes
Selenocysteine, a structural analog of cysteine but synthesized from serine, is found in members of all three domains of life, Eukarya, Bacteria, and Archaea. Selenocysteine is mostly present in the catalytic site of redox-active enzymes with diverse biological functions. The pathway for selenocysteine synthesis and incorporation into proteins during translation differs from that of the 20 canonical amino acids, as it is synthesized bound to a transfer RNA (tRNA) and encoded on the selenoprotein mRNA by UGA, which normally signals termination of translation.
The element selenium (Se) is a member of the chalcogen group in the periodic table, and thus a nonmetal, with properties that are intermediate between those of the neighboring elements sulfur and tellurium. Se was first isolated in lead chambers of a sulfuric acid production factory and named after the...
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