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J Immunol. 2011 Feb 15;186(4):2127-37. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002878. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

Selenoprotein K knockout mice exhibit deficient calcium flux in immune cells and impaired immune responses.

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Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.


Selenoprotein K (Sel K) is a selenium-containing protein for which no function has been identified. We found that Sel K is an endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane protein expressed at relatively high levels in immune cells and is regulated by dietary selenium. Sel K(-/-) mice were generated and found to be similar to wild-type controls regarding growth and fertility. Immune system development was not affected by Sel K deletion, but specific immune cell defects were found in Sel K(-/-) mice. Receptor-mediated Ca(2+) flux was decreased in T cells, neutrophils, and macrophages from Sel K(-/-) mice compared with controls. Ca(2+)-dependent functions including T cell proliferation, T cell and neutrophil migration, and Fcγ receptor-mediated oxidative burst in macrophages were decreased in cells from Sel K(-/-) mice compared with that in cells from controls. West Nile virus infections were performed, and Sel K(-/-) mice exhibited decreased viral clearance in the periphery and increased viral titers in brain. Furthermore, West Nile virus-infected Sel K(-/-) mice demonstrated significantly lower survival (2 of 23; 8.7%) compared with that of wild-type controls (10 of 26; 38.5%). These results establish Sel K as an endoplasmic reticulum-membrane protein important for promoting effective Ca(2+) flux during immune cell activation and provide insight into molecular mechanisms by which dietary selenium enhances immune responses.

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