Nutritional Biochemistry of Selenium

셀레늄의 영양생화학

  • Choi, Yong-Soon (Molecular and Medical Biotechnology Program, Division of Biotechnology, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Hesketh, John E. (Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, University of Newcastle)
  • Published : 2006.06.01


Selenium (Se) obtained from dietary sources including cereals, grains and vegetables is an essential micronutrient for normal function of the body. Plants convert Se into selenomethionine and incorporate it into proteins in place of methionine, while higher animals synthesize selenoproteins containing selenocysteine. Excessive Se in the body is methylated stepwise to methylated selenium metabolites from selenide. Both inorganic and organic forms of selenium can be the nutritional sources in human, and they are transformed to selenide and then the amino acid selenocysteine attached to a specific $tRNA^{ser(sec)}$. The selenocysteine (Sec) is incorporated into selenoprotein sequences by the UGA codon. The decoding of UGA as Sec requires specific mechanisms because UGA is normally read as a stop codon: cis-acting sequences in the mRNA (the selenocysteine insertion sequence, SECIS, within the 3'untranslated region) and trans -acting factors dedicated to Sec incorporation are required for incorporation of Sec during translation of selenoprotein mRNAs. Approximately 25 selenoproteins have been identified in mammals. Several of these, including glutathione peroxidases, thioredoxin reductases and selenoprotein P, have been purified or cloned, allowing further characterization of their biological function. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals which may contribute to the development of chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease. Other selenoproteins have important roles in regulation of thyroid function and play a role in the immune system. Daily selenium iatake was reported to be $42.0{\pm}16.9{\mu}g/day$ in Korean adult women. This review focuses on the metabolism and biological functions of selenium, and the nutritional status of selenium in the Korean population.



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