Editors' ChoiceBiochemistry

Clearing out selenoprotein garbage

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Sci. Signal.  07 Jul 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 384, pp. ec184
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aac9401

Our DNA consists of codons that code for 20 different amino acids. Another amino acid, selenocysteine, is also found in several human selenoproteins. Selenocysteine is incorporated through the recoding of a stop codon, but failures in this process result in premature termination of protein synthesis. Lin et al. showed that the potentially dangerous truncated proteins formed in such cases are specifically degraded by a protein quality surveillance system. The surveillance system can specifically recognize the truncated ends of the various prematurely terminated selenoproteins and target their destruction.

H.-C. Lin, S.-C. Ho, Y.-Y. Chen, K.-H. Khoo, P.-H. Hsu, H.-C. S. Yen, CRL2 aids elimination of truncated selenoproteins produced by failed UGA/Sec decoding. Science 349, 91–95 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]