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J Proteome Res. 2016 Feb 5;15(2):677-8. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b01028. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Selenocysteine: Wherefore Art Thou?

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Center for Health Informatics and Bioinformatics, New York University Medical School , 227 East 30 Street, New York, New York 10016, United States.
Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba , Faculty of Health Sciences, 744 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0W3, Canada.


Selenocysteine is a naturally occurring proteogenic amino acid that is encoded in the genomic sequence of relatively abundant proteins in many of the model species commonly used for biomedical research. On the basis of an analysis of publicly available proteomics information, it was discovered that peptides containing selenocysteine were not being identified in tandem mass spectrometry proteomics data. Once the chemical basis for this exclusion was understood, a simple alteration in search parameters led to the confident identification of selenocysteine containing peptides from existing proteomics data, with no change in experimental protocols required.

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