The human selenoprotein H is the only selenocysteine-containing protein that is located in the cell's nucleolus. In vivo studies have suggested that it plays some role in DNA binding, consumption of reactive oxygen species, and may serve as a safeguard against cancers. However, the protein has never been isolated and, as a result, not yet fully characterized. Here, we used a semi-synthetic approach to obtain the full selenoprotein H with a S43T mutation. Using biolayer interferometry, we also show that the Cys-containing mutant of selenoprotein H is capable of binding DNA with sub-micromolar affinity. Employing state-of-the-art expressed protein ligation (EPL), our devised semi-synthetic approach can be utilized for the production of numerous, hard-to-obtain proteins of biological and therapeutic relevance.
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