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Title: A selenocysteine containing αHL for single molecule studies
Author: Rogers, Sarah Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 2428
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Proteins containing selenocysteine (selenoproteins) have been found to exist in organisms from all domains of life. Selenoproteins are important for many in vivo processes such as the removal of reactive oxygen containing species (ROS), redox disulfide shuffling reactions, and pro-hormone activation. Structurally and functionally analogous to cysteine, selenocysteine's lower pKa appears to be the defining chemical difference between these two amino acids. Using a single-molecule electrical recording technique, rate constants for the reaction of selenocysteine with small molecule disulfides were obtained over a pH range of 6 - 10. Analogous single molecule ~riments carried out ~ .. - using cysteine, revealed that, after correcting for the ratio of selenolate to selenol and thiolate to thiol based on the pKa of each amino acid, the nuc1eophilicity of selenocysteine was comparable to that of cysteine. The selenium atom of the selenylsulfide bond was found to be substantially more electrophilic than a sui fur atom of the analogous disulfide bond and the leaving group ability of the selenolate of selenocysteine compared to the thiolate of cysteine were found to be comparable. Another biologically relavant interaction that occurs in vivo is the reaction between selenocysteine and organoarsenic (Ill) molecules. It is known that arsenic (Ill) compounds are toxic to organisms, and that this toxicity stems from the ability to coordinate to the thiol and selenol groups of the cysteine and selenocysteine residues within proteins. The reaction of selenocysteine with an organoarsenic species was investigated at the single molecule level over the pH range 6.5 - 8.5. By carrying out an analogous reaction between cysteine and the organoarsenic (Ill) species, it was found that selenocysteine and cysteine exhibit similar reaction rates. The organoarsenic reagent could exist in a range of different protonation states in solution and it was concluded that the rate of reaction was governed by the equilibrium of the arsenic molecule, where only some of the forms were reactive towards the selenocysteine and cysteine groups.
Supervisor: Bayley, Hagan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Selenoproteins ; Cysteine ; Chemical kinetics