Selenoprotein W expression and regulation in mouse brain and neurons



Marla J. Berry, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 651 Ilalo Street, Biosciences Building 222, Honolulu, HI 96813. Tel: (808)-692-1506; Fax: (808)-692-1968; E-mail:



Selenoprotein W (Sepw1) is a selenium-containing protein that is abundant in brain and muscle of vertebrate animals. Muscular expression of Sepw1 is reduced by dietary selenium (Se) deficiency in mammals, whereas brain expression is maintained. However, expression of Sepw1 depends on the Se transporter selenoprotein P (Sepp1).


We assessed the regional and cellular expression of Sepw1 in the mouse brain and neuronal cultures.


We found that Sepw1 is widespread in neurons and neuropil of mouse brain and appears in both the soma and processes of neurons in culture. Pyramidal neurons of cortex and hippocampus express high levels of Sepw1. It is also abundant in Purkinje neurons and their dendritic arbors in the cerebellum. Analysis of synaptosome fractions prepared from mice brains indicated that Sepw1 is present at synapses, as were several proteins involved in selenoprotein synthesis. Synaptic expression of Sepw1 expression is reduced in mice lacking Sepp1 compared with control mice, although selenoprotein synthesis factors were similarly expressed in both genotypes. Lastly, Sepw1 mRNA coimmunoprecipitates with Staufen 2 protein in a human neuronal cell line.


Our results suggest that Sepw1 may be locally synthesized in distal compartments of neurons including synapses.