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Gene Review

selA  -  selenocysteine synthase

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK3580, JW3564, fdhA
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Disease relevance of selA


High impact information on selA


Chemical compound and disease context of selA


Biological context of selA

  • In contrast, the other three sel genes (selA, -B, and -D) were shown to be constituents of two unlinked operons [9].
  • By using Northern (RNA) gel blot analysis, the transcription start site was located within a 1.6-kilobase BglII-NcoI fragment 4.3 kilobases upstream from the fdhA gene [10].
  • Se is an essential trace element and is found as a selenocysteine in the active site of Se-enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase. tRNASec is first aminoacylated with serine by Ser RS and further is converted to selenocysteyl-tRNA by selenocysteine synthase [11].

Associations of selA with chemical compounds

  • Analysis of amino acid sequences indicated that selenocysteine synthase belongs to the alpha/gamma superfamily of pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes [8].
  • These data together with the finding that selenophosphate synthetase is highly specific for selenide indicate that the phosphate moiety of selenophosphate provides selenocysteine synthase with the discrimination specificity against sulfur [8].
  • It was found to be dependent on the positive control exerted by the fdhA, B and C genes, possibly involved in selenium incorporation, and by an hydB gene affecting the formate hydrogenlyase pathway [12].
  • The apparent molecular mass of the native enzyme was determined by gel filtration to be about 100 kDa, which was confirmed by the fdhA nucleotide sequence. fdhA encodes for a pre-protein that differs from the truncated mature protein by an N-terminal 35-amino-acid signal peptide containing a twin arginine motif [13].
  • The soluble periplasmic subunit of the formate dehydrogenase FdhA of the tetrachloroethene-reducing anaerobe Sulfurospirillum multivorans was purified to apparent homogeneity and the gene ( fdhA) was identified and sequenced [13].

Other interactions of selA

  • Guided by principal component analysis, we instead discovered that the most efficient bacterial selenoprotein production conditions were obtained with the high-transcription T7lac-driven pET vector system in presence of the selA, selB, and selC genes, with induction of production at late exponential phase [14].


  1. Selenocysteine synthase from Escherichia coli. Nucleotide sequence of the gene (selA) and purification of the protein. Forchhammer, K., Leinfelder, W., Boesmiller, K., Veprek, B., Böck, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  2. Selenophosphate as a substrate for mammalian selenocysteine synthase, its stability and toxicity. Mizutani, T., Kanaya, K., Tanabe, K. Biofactors (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. In vitro synthesis of selenocysteinyl-tRNA(UCA) from seryl-tRNA(UCA): involvement and characterization of the selD gene product. Leinfelder, W., Forchhammer, K., Veprek, B., Zehelein, E., Böck, A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1990) [Pubmed]
  4. The length of the aminoacyl-acceptor stem of the selenocysteine-specific tRNA(Sec) of Escherichia coli is the determinant for binding to elongation factors SELB or Tu. Baron, C., Böck, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  5. Selenocysteine synthase from Escherichia coli. Analysis of the reaction sequence. Forchhammer, K., Böck, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  6. Purification and biochemical characterization of SELB, a translation factor involved in selenoprotein synthesis. Forchhammer, K., Rücknagel, K.P., Böck, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1990) [Pubmed]
  7. Structural and functional investigation of a putative archaeal selenocysteine synthase. Kaiser, J.T., Gromadski, K., Rother, M., Engelhardt, H., Rodnina, M.V., Wahl, M.C. Biochemistry (2005) [Pubmed]
  8. Bacterial selenocysteine synthase--structural and functional properties. Tormay, P., Wilting, R., Lottspeich, F., Mehta, P.K., Christen, P., Böck, A. Eur. J. Biochem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  9. Expression and operon structure of the sel genes of Escherichia coli and identification of a third selenium-containing formate dehydrogenase isoenzyme. Sawers, G., Heider, J., Zehelein, E., Böck, A. J. Bacteriol. (1991) [Pubmed]
  10. Characterization of the upstream region of the formate dehydrogenase operon of Methanobacterium formicicum. Patel, P.S., Ferry, J.G. J. Bacteriol. (1988) [Pubmed]
  11. The dual identities of mammalian tRNA(Sec) for SerRS and selenocysteine synthase. Mizutani, T., Kanaya, K., Ikeda, S., Fujiwara, T., Yamada, K., Totsuka, T. Mol. Biol. Rep. (1998) [Pubmed]
  12. Regulation of the fdhF gene encoding the selenopolypeptide for benzyl viologen-linked formate dehydrogenase in Escherichia coli. Wu, L.F., Mandrand-Berthelot, M.A. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1987) [Pubmed]
  13. Purification and properties of the formate dehydrogenase and characterization of the fdhA gene of Sulfurospirillum multivorans. Schmitz, R.P., Diekert, G. Arch. Microbiol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  14. Assessment of production conditions for efficient use of Escherichia coli in high-yield heterologous recombinant selenoprotein synthesis. Rengby, O., Johansson, L., Carlson, L.A., Serini, E., Vlamis-Gardikas, A., Kårsnäs, P., Arnér, E.S. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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