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Nutrients 2013, 5(5), 1734-1756; doi:10.3390/nu5051734

Selenium Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Combined Application of XAS and XFM Techniques to the Problem of Selenium Speciation in Biological Systems

Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 2 May 2013 / Accepted: 6 May 2013 / Published: 21 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Selenium and Health)
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Determining the speciation of selenium in vivo is crucial to understanding the biological activity of this essential element, which is a popular dietary supplement due to its anti-cancer properties. Hyphenated techniques that combine separation and detection methods are traditionally and effectively used in selenium speciation analysis, but require extensive sample preparation that may affect speciation. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption and fluorescence techniques offer an alternative approach to selenium speciation analysis that requires minimal sample preparation. We present a brief summary of some key HPLC-ICP-MS and ESI-MS/MS studies of the speciation of selenium in cells and rat tissues. We review the results of a top-down approach to selenium speciation in human lung cancer cells that aims to link the speciation and distribution of selenium to its biological activity using a combination of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM). The results of this approach highlight the distinct fates of selenomethionine, methylselenocysteine and selenite in terms of their speciation and distribution within cells: organic selenium metabolites were widely distributed throughout the cells, whereas inorganic selenium metabolites were compartmentalized and associated with copper. New data from the XFM mapping of electrophoretically-separated cell lysates show the distribution of selenium in the proteins of selenomethionine-treated cells. Future applications of this top-down approach are discussed.
Keywords: selenium; cancer; XAS; XFM; selenoproteins; SDS-PAGE selenium; cancer; XAS; XFM; selenoproteins; SDS-PAGE
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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Weekley, C.M.; Aitken, J.B.; Finney, L.; Vogt, S.; Witting, P.K.; Harris, H.H. Selenium Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Combined Application of XAS and XFM Techniques to the Problem of Selenium Speciation in Biological Systems. Nutrients 2013, 5, 1734-1756.

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