Mutations in the selenocysteine insertion sequence-binding protein 2 gene lead to a multisystem selenoprotein deficiency disorder in humans

Erik Schoenmakers, Maura Agostini, Catherine Mitchell, Nadia Schoenmakers, Laura Papp, Odelia Rajanayagam, Raja Padidela, Lourdes Ceron-Gutierrez, Rainer Doffinger, Claudia Prevosto, Jian'an Luan, Sergio Montano, Jun Lu, Mireille Castanet, Nick Clemons, Matthijs Groeneveld, Perrine Castets, Mahsa Karbaschi, Sri Aitken, Adrian DixonJane Williams, Irene Campi, Margaret Blount, Hannah Burton, Francesco Muntoni, Dominic O'Donovan, Andrew Dean, Anne Warren, Charlotte Brierley, David Baguley, Pascale Guicheney, Rebecca Fitzgerald, Alasdair Coles, Hill Gaston, Pamela Todd, Arne Holmgren, Kum Kum Khanna, Marcus Cooke, Robert Semple, David Halsall, Nicholas Wareham, John Schwabe, Lucia Grasso, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Arthur Ogunko, Mehul Dattani, Mark Gurnell, V. Krishna K Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Selenium, a trace element that is fundamental to human health, is incorporated into some proteins as seleno-cysteine (Sec), generating a family of selenoproteins. Sec incorporation is mediated by a multiprotein complex that includes Sec insertion sequence-binding protein 2 (SECISBP2; also known as SBP2). Here, we describe subjects with compound heterozygous defects in the SECISBP2 gene. These individuals have reduced synthesis of most of the 25 known human selenoproteins, resulting in a complex phenotype. Azoospermia, with failure of the latter stages of spermatogenesis, was associated with a lack of testis-enriched selenoproteins. An axial muscular dystrophy was also present, with features similar to myopathies caused by mutations in selenoprotein N (SEPN1). Cutaneous deficiencies of antioxidant selenoenzymes, increased cellular ROS, and susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative damage may mediate the observed photo-sensitivity. Reduced levels of selenoproteins in peripheral blood cells were associated with impaired T lymphocyte proliferation, abnormal mononuclear cell cytokine secretion, and telomere shortening. Paradoxically, raised ROS in affected subjects was associated with enhanced systemic and cellular insulin sensitivity, similar to findings in mice lacking the antioxidant selenoenzyme glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1). Thus, mutation of SECISBP2 is associated with a multisystem disorder with defective biosynthesis of many selenoproteins, highlighting their role in diverse biological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4220-4235
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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