Natural and synthetic selenoproteins

Norman Metanis, Donald Hilvert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Once considered highly toxic, the element selenium is now recognized as a micronutrient essential for human health. It is inserted co-translationally into many proteins as the non-canonical amino acid selenocysteine, providing the resulting selenoprotein molecules with a range of valuable redox properties; selenocysteine is also increasingly exploited as a structural and mechanistic probe in synthetic peptides and proteins. Here we review topical investigations into the preparation and characterization of natural and artificial selenoproteins. Such molecules are uniquely suited as tools for protein chemistry and as a test bed for studying novel catalytic activities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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