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The Chemistry of Selenocysteine

Organic Selenium and Tellurium Compounds (2012)

  1. Norman Metanis,
  2. Joris Beld,
  3. Donald Hilvert

Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470682531.pat0582

Patai's Chemistry of Functional Groups

Patai's Chemistry of Functional Groups

How to Cite

Metanis, N., Beld, J. and Hilvert, D. 2011. The Chemistry of Selenocysteine. Patai's Chemistry of Functional Groups. .

Author Information

  1. Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, Zürich, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

Chemistry Terms

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Selenocysteine is a redox active amino acid. It is inserted co-translationally into a number of natural proteins, providing them with a range of interesting enzymatic activities; it can also be incorporated into artificial peptides and proteins as a structural and mechanistic probe. In this chapter, the chemistry and biochemistry of this novel amino acid is reviewed. In addition to the (bio)synthesis of selenocysteine, selenopeptides and selenoproteins, the roles selenium plays in enzyme catalysis and its utility for diverse biotechnological applications are discussed.


  • selenium;
  • selenocysteine;
  • selenopeptides;
  • selenoproteins;
  • metabolism;
  • stop codon suppression;
  • SECIS;
  • SPPS;
  • antioxidant;
  • redox chemistry