Selenoprotein P (SePP) is a vertebrate-specific selenoprotein and was first characterized as the major selenoprotein in plasma, hence its name. Selenoproteins are proteins containing the rare amino acid selenocysteine (Sec) in their polypeptide chain. Sec incorporation is specific, in contrast, selenomethionine (SeMet) represents a minor fraction of the methionine pool and is thus randomly inserted into protein in the place of methionine. Sec therefore represents the 21st proteinogenic amino acid and is encoded in mRNA by UGA codons. The cis-acting Selenocysteine-Insertion-Sequence(SECIS) in the 3′-untranslated region of selenoprotein mRNAs is required for the re-coding of UGA stop codons as Sec. SePP is the only selenoprotein containing two SECIS elements. SePP contains the highest number of selenocysteines among selenoproteins and plays the central role in body selenium...
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