My watch list  

SECIS element

SECIS element
Type: Cis-reg;
2° structure: Published; PubMed
Seed alignment: Griffiths-Jones SR
Avg length: 64.2 nucleotides
Avg identity: 43%

In biology, the SECIS element (SECIS: selenocysteine insertion sequence) is an RNA element around 60 nucleotides in length that adopts a stem-loop structure.[1] This structural motif (pattern of nucleotides) directs the cell to translate UGA codons as selenocysteines. (UGA is normally a stop codon.) SECIS elements are thus a fundamental aspect of selenoproteins, which are proteins that include one or more selenocysteine residues.

In eubacteria the SECIS element appears soon after the UGA codon it affects. In archaea and eukaryotes, it occurs in the 3' UTR of an mRNA, and can cause multiple UGA codons within the mRNA to code for selenocysteine. One archaeal SECIS element, in Methanococcus, is located in the 5' UTR.

The SECIS element appears defined by sequence characteristics, i.e. particular nucleotides tend to be at particular positions in it, and a characteristic secondary structure. The secondary structure is the result of base-pairing of complementary RNA nucleotides, and causes a hairpin-like structure. The eukaryotic SECIS element includes non-canonical A-G base pairs, which are uncommon in nature, but are critically important to correct SECIS element function. Although the eukaryotic, archaeal and eubacterial SECIS elements each share a general hairpin structure, they are not alignable, e.g. a scheme to recognize eukaryotic SECIS elements will not be able to recognize archaeal SECIS elements.

In bioinformatics, several computer programs have been created that search for SECIS elements within a genome sequence, based on the sequence and secondary structure characteristics of SECIS elements. These programs have been used in searches for novel selenoproteins.[2]

Species distribution

The SECIS element is found in a wide variety of eukaryotes, prokaryotes and viruses.[3][4][5][6]


  1. ^ Walczak, R; Westhof E, Carbon P, Krol A (1996). "A novel RNA structural motif in the selenocysteine insertion element of eukaryotic selenoprotein mRNAs". RNA 2: 367–379. PMID 8634917.
  2. ^ Lambert, A; Lescure A, Gautheret D (2002). "A survey of metazoan selenocysteine insertion sequences". Biochimie 84: 953–959. PMID 12458087.
  3. ^ Mix H, Lobanov AV, Gladyshev VN (2007). "SECIS elements in the coding regions of selenoprotein transcripts are functional in higher eukaryotes". Nucleic Acids Res. 35 (2): 414-23. doi:10.1093/nar/gkl1060. PMID 17169995.
  4. ^ Cassago A, Rodrigues EM, Prieto EL, et al (2006). "Identification of Leishmania selenoproteins and SECIS element". Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 149 (2): 128-34. doi:10.1016/j.molbiopara.2006.05.002. PMID 16766053.
  5. ^ Mourier T, Pain A, Barrell B, Griffiths-Jones S (2005). "A selenocysteine tRNA and SECIS element in Plasmodium falciparum". RNA 11 (2): 119-22. doi:10.1261/rna.7185605. PMID 15659354.
  6. ^ Lambert A, Lescure A, Gautheret D (2002). "A survey of metazoan selenocysteine insertion sequences". Biochimie 84 (9): 953-9. PMID 12458087.
  • G. V. Kryukov, S. Castellano, S. V. Novoselov, A. V. Lobanov, O. Zehtab, R. Guigó, and V. N. Gladyshev (2003). "Characterization of mammalian selenoproteomes". Science 300 (5624): 1439-1443.
  • Gregory V. Kryukov and Vadim N. Gladyshev (2004). "The prokaryotic selenoproteome". EMBO Rep 5 (5): 538-543.
  • Alain Krol (2002). "Evolutionarily different RNA motifs and RNA-protein complexes to achieve selenoprotein synthesis". Biochimie 84 (8): 765-774.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "SECIS_element". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE