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Type: Journal article
Title: Production of Se-methylselenocysteine in transgenic plants expressing selenocysteine methyltransferase
Author: Ellis, D.
Sors, T.
Brunk, D.
Albrecht, C.
Orser, C.
Lahner, B.
Wood, K.
Harris, H.
Pickering, I.
Salt, D.
Citation: BMC Plant Biology, 2004; 4(28):Artilcle 1
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Issue Date: 2004
ISSN: 1471-2229
Statement of
Danielle R Ellis, Thomas G Sors, Dennis G Brunk, Carrie Albrecht, Cindy Orser, Brett Lahner, Karl V Wood, Hugh H Harris, Ingrid J Pickering and David E Salt
Abstract: Background: It has become increasingly evident that dietary Se plays a significant role in reducing the incidence of lung, colorectal and prostate cancer in humans. Different forms of Se vary in their chemopreventative efficacy, with Se-methylselenocysteine being one of the most potent. Interestingly, the Se accumulating plant Astragalus bisulcatus (Two-grooved poison vetch) contains up to 0.6% of its shoot dry weight as Se-methylselenocysteine. The ability of this Se accumulator to biosynthesize Se-methylselenocysteine provides a critical metabolic shunt that prevents selenocysteine and selenomethionine from entering the protein biosynthetic machinery. Such a metabolic shunt has been proposed to be vital for Se tolerance in A. bisulcatus. Utilization of this mechanism in other plants may provide a possible avenue for the genetic engineering of Se tolerance in plants ideally suited for the phytoremediation of Se contaminated land. Here, we describe the overexpression of a selenocysteine methyltransferase from A. bisulcatus to engineer Se-methylselenocysteine metabolism in the Se non-accumulator Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale cress). Results: By over producing the A. bisulcatus enzyme selenocysteine methyltransferase in A. thaliana, we have introduced a novel biosynthetic ability that allows the non-accumulator to accumulate Se-methylselenocysteine and γ-glutamylmethylselenocysteine in shoots. The biosynthesis of Se-methylselenocysteine in A. thaliana also confers significantly increased selenite tolerance and foliar Se accumulation. Conclusion: These results demonstrate the feasibility of developing transgenic plant-based production of Se-methylselenocysteine, as well as bioengineering selenite resistance in plants. Selenite resistance is the first step in engineering plants that are resistant to selenate, the predominant form of Se in the environment.
Keywords: Plants, Genetically Modified; Arabidopsis; Astragalus Plant; Plant Shoots; Selenium; Sodium Selenite; Organoselenium Compounds; Selenocysteine; Cysteine; Methyltransferases; Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid; Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic; Gene Expression Regulation, Plant; Mass Spectrometry
Rights: Copyright © 2004 Ellis et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
RMID: 0020081442
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-4-1
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Appears in Collections:Chemistry and Physics publications
Environment Institute publications

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