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Naturwissenschaften. 1991 Nov;78(11):497-504.

[Biology and biochemistry of selenium].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie der Universität, München, FRG.


The importance of selenium as an essential trace element has progressively emerged during the last years due to the analysis of selenium deficiency diseases and to the identification and characterization of a number of selenoenzymes. Selenium is incorporated in the catalytic site of the enzymes as an integral selenocysteine residue. The pathway of selenocysteine biosynthesis and incorporation has been elucidated recently for Escherichia coli. This article presents an overview on these subjects and describes the mechanisms which confer selenocysteine specificity in the framework of protein biosynthesis. In addition, some considerations concerning the phylogeny of selenocysteine incorporation are presented and a model for the evolution of the selenocysteine pathway is proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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