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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Apr 1;12(7):809-18. doi: 10.1089/ars.2009.2883.

The neuroprotective functions of selenoprotein M and its role in cytosolic calcium regulation.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai'i , 651 Ilalo Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.


Selenoproteins contain the trace element selenium incorporated as selenocysteine, the 21st amino acid. Some members of the selenoprotein family, such as the glutathione peroxidases, have well-characterized antioxidant activity, functioning in enzymatic breakdown of hydroperoxides to protect cells against oxidative stress. However, the functions of many of the 25 human selenoproteins, including the brain-enriched selenoprotein M, are unknown. We investigated selenoprotein M function by manipulating expression in murine hippocampal HT22 cells, cerebellar astrocyte C8-D1A cells, and primary neuronal cultures. Overexpression of the protein resulted in a reduction in reactive oxygen species and apoptotic cell death in response to oxidative challenge with hydrogen peroxide. In contrast, knock-down of selenoprotein M using shRNA in primary neuronal cultures caused apoptotic cell death comparable to levels resulting from addition of hydrogen peroxide. Calcium measurements with the indicator cameleon demonstrated that overexpression of selenoprotein M decreased calcium influx in response to hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, knock-down of selenoprotein M expression in cortical cultures caused higher baseline levels of cytosolic calcium than in control cells. These results suggest that selenoprotein M may have an important role in protecting against oxidative damage in the brain and may potentially function in calcium regulation.

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