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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A protein binds the selenocysteine insertion element in the 3'-UTR of mammalian selenoprotein mRNAs.

Several gene products are involved in co-translational insertion of selenocysteine by the tRNA(Sec). In addition, a stem-loop structure in the mRNAs coding for selenoproteins is essential to mediate the selection of the proper selenocysteine UGA codon. Interestingly, in eukaryotic selenoprotein mRNAs, this stem-loop structure, the selenocysteine insertion sequence (SECIS) element, resides in the 3'-untranslated region, far downstream of the UGA codon. In view of unravelling the underlying complex mechanism, we have attempted to detect RNA-binding proteins with specificity for the SECIS element. Using mobility shift assays, we could show that a protein, present in different types of mammalian cell extracts, possesses the capacity of binding the SECIS element of the selenoprotein glutathione peroxidase (GPx) mRNA. We have termed this protein SBP, for Secis Binding Protein. Competition experiments attested that the binding is highly specific and UV cross-linking indicated that the protein has an apparent molecular weight in the range of 60-65 kDa. Finally, some data suggest that the SECIS elements in the mRNAs of GPx and another selenoprotein, type I iodothyronine 5' deiodinase, recognize the same SBP protein. This constitutes the first report of the existence of a 3' UTR binding protein possibly involved in the eukaryotic selenocysteine insertion mechanism.[1]


  1. A protein binds the selenocysteine insertion element in the 3'-UTR of mammalian selenoprotein mRNAs. Hubert, N., Walczak, R., Carbon, P., Krol, A. Nucleic Acids Res. (1996) [Pubmed]
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