S-Glutathionylation of mouse selenoprotein W prevents oxidative stress-induced cell death by blocking the formation of an intramolecular disulfide bond

Kwan Young Ko, Jea Hwang Lee, Jun Ki Jang, Yunjung Jin, Hyunwoo Kang, Ick Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Mouse selenoprotein W (SELENOW) is a small protein containing a selenocysteine (Sec, U) and four cysteine (Cys, C) residues. The Sec residue in SELENOW is located within the conserved CXXU motif corresponding to the CXXC redox motif of thioredoxin (Trx). It is known that glutathione (GSH) binds to SELENOW and that this binding is involved in protecting cells from oxidative stress. However, the regulatory mechanisms controlling the glutathionylation of SELENOW in oxidative stress are unclear. In this study, using purified recombinant SELENOW in which Sec13 was changed to Cys, we found that SELENOW was glutathionylated at Cys33 and that this S-glutathionylation was enhanced by oxidative stress. We also found that the S-glutathionylation of SELENOW at Cys33 in HEK293 cells was due to glutathione S-transferase Pi (GSTpi) and that this modification was reversed by glutaredoxin1 (Grx1). In addition to the disulfide bond between the Cys10 and Cys13 of SELENOW, a second disulfide bond was formed between Cys33 and Cys87 under oxidative stress conditions. The second disulfide bond was reduced by Trx1, but the disulfide bond between Cys10 and Cys13 was not. The second disulfide bond was also reduced by glutathione, but the disulfide bond in the CXXC motif was not. The second disulfide bond of the mutant SELENOW, in which Cys37 was replaced with Ser, was formed at a much lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide than the wild type. We also observed that Cys37 was required for S-glutathionylation, and that S-glutathionylated SELENOW containing Cys37 protected the cells from oxidative stress. Furthermore, the SELENOW (C33, 87S) mutant, which could not form the second disulfide bond, also showed antioxidant activity. Taken together, these results indicate that GSTpi-mediated S-glutathionylation of mouse SELENOW at Cys33 is required for the protection of cells in conditions of oxidative stress, through inhibition of the formation of the second disulfide bond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-371
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep


  • Disulfide bond
  • GSTpi
  • Oxidative stress
  • S-Glutathionylation
  • Selenoprotein W

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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