Selenium is an essential trace element that has roles in cancer prevention, the immune system, brain function, and male reproduction. This element is present in proteins in the form of selenocysteine residue, which is co-translationally inserted into proteins in response to UGA codons. Mutations or single nucleotide polymorphisms in several selenoprotein genes and selenocysteine machinery genes have been associated with disease. Selenocysteine insertion is dependent on the SECIS element, a stem-loop structure present in 3'-untranslated regions of selenoprotein genes. Because UGA codon normally functions as a stop signal, selenoprotein genes are often missed by genome annotation programs. We developed bioinformatics tools that allow identification of selenoprotein genes by searching for SECIS elements and selenocysteine/cysteine pairs in homologous sequences. Using these tools, we identified sets of human and mouse selenoproteins (selenoproteomes). We suggest that in order to understand biological and biomedical effects of dietary selenium, information on identifies and functions of all selenoproteins is required. We propose to address critical questions in the area of selenium biology and its role in human health, including dependence of selenocysteine insertion on the location of UGA codon within coding sequences of selenoprotein genes, comprehensive characterization of mammalian selenoproteomes through bioinformatics and imaging approaches, and analysis of biological functions of an emerging class of endoplasmic reticulum-resident selenoproteins. The three specific aims of this application are as follows: (1) Position-dependent insertion of selenocysteine into mammalian selenoproteins. (2) Characterization of mammalian selenoproteomes. (3) Roles of Selenoprotein S and Selenoprotein K in mammalian endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation. A combination of cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, imaging and animal model approaches will be used to address these questions.

Public Health Relevance

In mammals, selenium is an essential trace element due to its presence in proteins in the form of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine. Selenium deficiency or mutations in selenoprotein or selenocysteine machinery genes may lead to disease. Our previous studies led to the identification of a set of selenoprotein genes in humans and mice. We now propose studies to understand regulation of selenocysteine insertion into proteins, characterize the mammalian selenoproteome, and determine functions of a widely occurring class of mammalian endoplasmic reticulum selenoproteins.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Integrative Nutrition and Metabolic Processes Study Section (INMP)
Program Officer
Bender, Michael T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States
Zip Code
van Erp, Theo G M; Walton, Esther; Hibar, Derrek P et al. (2018) Cortical Brain Abnormalities in 4474 Individuals With Schizophrenia and 5098 Control Subjects via the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium. Biol Psychiatry 84:644-654
Carlson, Bradley A; Lee, Byeong Jae; Tsuji, Petra A et al. (2018) Selenocysteine tRNA[Ser]Sec, the Central Component of Selenoprotein Biosynthesis: Isolation, Identification, Modification, and Sequencing. Methods Mol Biol 1661:43-60
Lobanov, Alexei V; Heaphy, Stephen M; Turanov, Anton A et al. (2017) Position-dependent termination and widespread obligatory frameshifting in Euplotes translation. Nat Struct Mol Biol 24:61-68
Gerashchenko, Maxim V; Gladyshev, Vadim N (2017) Ribonuclease selection for ribosome profiling. Nucleic Acids Res 45:e6
Golubev, Alexey; Hanson, Andrew D; Gladyshev, Vadim N (2017) Non-enzymatic molecular damage as a prototypic driver of aging. J Biol Chem 292:6029-6038
Renko, Kostja; Martitz, Janine; Hybsier, Sandra et al. (2017) Aminoglycoside-driven biosynthesis of selenium-deficient Selenoprotein P. Sci Rep 7:4391
Manta, Bruno; Gladyshev, Vadim N (2017) Regulated methionine oxidation by monooxygenases. Free Radic Biol Med 109:141-155
Heaphy, Stephen M; Mariotti, Marco; Gladyshev, Vadim N et al. (2016) Novel Ciliate Genetic Code Variants Including the Reassignment of All Three Stop Codons to Sense Codons in Condylostoma magnum. Mol Biol Evol 33:2885-2889
Podolskiy, Dmitriy I; Lobanov, Alexei V; Kryukov, Gregory V et al. (2016) Analysis of cancer genomes reveals basic features of human aging and its role in cancer development. Nat Commun 7:12157
Tobe, Ryuta; Carlson, Bradley A; Huh, Jang Hoe et al. (2016) Selenophosphate synthetase 1 is an essential protein with roles in regulation of redox homoeostasis in mammals. Biochem J 473:2141-54

Showing the most recent 10 out of 128 publications