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Easing selenocysteine into proteins

Selenocysteinyl-tRNASec is used by many organisms from all three domains of life to incorporate selenocysteine (Sec) site-specifically into certain proteins. Two recent reports have identified a new Sec synthase that catalyzes the last step in the generation of this aminoacyl-tRNA in eukarya and archaea.

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Figure 1: Selenocysteine can be incorporated into specific proteins via read-through of an internal, in-frame UGA codon.
Figure 2: The biosynthesis of Sec-tRNASec in bacteria (top pathway) and in archaea and eukarya (bottom pathway).


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Hendrickson, T. Easing selenocysteine into proteins. Nat Struct Mol Biol 14, 100–101 (2007).

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