Selenoproteins mediate T cell immunity through an antioxidant mechanism

Rajeev K. Shrimali, Robert D. Irons, Bradley A. Carlson, Yasuyo Sano, Vadim N. Gladyshev, Mo Park Jin, Dolph L. Hatfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Selenium is an essential dietary element with antioxidant roles in immune regulation, but there is little understanding of how this element acts at the molecular level in host defense and inflammatory disease. Selenium is incorporated into the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec), which in turn is inserted into seleno-proteins in a manner dependent on Sec tRNA[Ser]Sec. To investigate the molecular mechanism that links selenium to T cell immunity, we generated mice with selenoprotein-less T cells by cell type-specific ablation of the Sec tRNA[Ser]Sec gene (trsp). Herein, we show that these mutant mice exhibit decreased pools of mature T cells and a defect in T cell-dependent antibody responses. We also demonstrate that selenoprotein deficiency leads to oxidant hyperproduction in T cells and thereby suppresses T cell proliferation in response to T cell receptor stimulation. These findings offer novel insights into immune function of selenium and physiological antioxidants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20181-20185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 18 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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