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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

12 Issues per year



Human SepSecS or SLA/LP: selenocysteine formation and autoimmune hepatitis

Sotiria Palioura1 / Johannes Herkel3 / Miljan Simonović4 / Ansgar W. Lohse3 / Dieter Söll1, 2

1Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8114, USA

2Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8114, USA

3Department of Medicine I, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany

4Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 900 S. Ashland Ave., MBRB 1170, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Corresponding authors ;

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 391, Issue 7, Pages 771–776, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/bc.2010.078, May 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Selenocysteine, the 21st genetically encoded amino acid, is the major form of the antioxidant trace element selenium in the human body. In eukaryotes and archaea its synthesis proceeds through a phosphorylated intermediate in a tRNA-dependent fashion. The final step of selenocysteine formation is catalyzed by O-phosphoseryl-tRNA:selenocysteinyl-tRNA synthase (SepSecS) that converts phosphoseryl-tRNASec to selenocysteinyl-tRNASec. The human SepSecS protein is also known as soluble liver antigen/liver pancreas (SLA/LP), which represents one of the antigens of autoimmune hepatitis. Here we review the discovery of human SepSecS and the current understanding of the immunogenicity of SLA/LP in autoimmune hepatitis.

Keywords: selenium; selenocysteine tRNA; Sep-tRNA:Sec-tRNA synthase; Soluble Liver Antigen/Liver Pancreas; stop codon recoding; UGA recoding

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