Selenoprotein P-expression, functions, and roles in mammals

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Nov;1790(11):1441-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2009.03.026. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Selenoprotein P (Sepp1) is a secreted protein that is made up of 2 domains. The larger N-terminal domain contains 1 selenocysteine residue in a redox motif and the smaller C-terminal domain contains the other 9 selenocysteines. Sepp1 isoforms of varying lengths occur but quantitation of them has not been achieved. Hepatic synthesis of Sepp1 affects whole-body selenium content and the liver is the source of most plasma Sepp1. ApoER2, a member of the lipoprotein receptor family, binds Sepp1 and facilitates its uptake into the testis and retention of its selenium by the brain. Megalin, another lipoprotein receptor, facilitates uptake of filtered Sepp1 into proximal tubule cells of the kidney. Thus, Sepp1 serves in homeostasis and distribution of selenium. Mice with deletion of Sepp1 suffer greater morbidity and mortality from infection with Trypanosoma congolense than do wild-type mice. Mice that express only the N-terminal domain of Sepp1 have the same severity of illness as wild-type mice, indicating that the protective function of Sepp1 against the infection resides in the N-terminal (redox) domain. Thus, Sepp1 has several functions. In addition, plasma Sepp1 concentration falls in selenium deficiency and, therefore, it can be used as an index of selenium nutritional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Brain Injuries / genetics
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Parasitic Diseases / genetics
  • Parasitic Diseases / metabolism
  • Selenium / metabolism
  • Selenoprotein P / genetics*
  • Selenoprotein P / metabolism
  • Selenoprotein P / physiology*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics


  • Selenoprotein P
  • Selenium