Issue 3, 2017

Accessing human selenoproteins through chemical protein synthesis


The human body contains 25 selenoproteins, which contain in their sequence the twenty-first encoded amino acid, selenocysteine. About a dozen of these proteins remain functionally uncharacterized or poorly studied. Challenges in accessing these selenoproteins using traditional recombinant expressions have prevented biological characterization thus far. Chemical protein synthesis has the potential to overcome these hurdles. Here we report the first total chemical syntheses of two human selenoproteins, selenoprotein M (SELM) and selenoprotein W (SELW). The synthesis of the more challenging protein SELM was enabled using recent advances in the field of selenocysteine chemistry. This approach allows the preparation of selenoproteins in milligram quantities and in homogenous form, which should open new horizons for future studies to pursue a fuller biological understanding of their role in health and disease.

Graphical abstract: Accessing human selenoproteins through chemical protein synthesis

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Article information

Article type
Edge Article
14 Sep 2016
29 Oct 2016
First published
01 Nov 2016
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 1922-1926

Accessing human selenoproteins through chemical protein synthesis

L. Dery, P. S. Reddy, S. Dery, R. Mousa, O. Ktorza, A. Talhami and N. Metanis, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 1922 DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04123J

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