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    The production of selenoproteins in cancer cells is dependent on uptake of selenium and processing via the selenocysteine biosynthesis pathway. Both the uptake and processing of selenium has recently shown to be upregulated in subsets of cancer cells due to their increased expression of xCT transporter, and the resulting increased expression of selenoproteins such as GPX4 can play multiple roles in cancer cells such as providing protection against ferroptotic insults. Here, we describe a set of protocols designed to measure this process in cancer cell culture-the measurement of xCT transporter expression and activity, the intracellular uptake of selenium in cancer cells, and the expression of selenoproteins as the final functional readout of this process. The successful measurement of xCT requires non-denaturing western blotting of xCT subunits, while its activity is determined by the measurement of reduced thiol groups that accumulate over time, as determined by Ellman's reagent. Selenium uptake is determined by supplementing a selenium source and then measuring total intracellular selenium levels, which is determined from digested cellular material using a reactive fluorescent probe or via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Finally, specific tips for efficiently determining the expression level of a set of "indicator" selenoproteins is provided. These parameters allow one to determine the "selenophilicity" of cells, i.e., the ability of cells to utilize selenite to upregulate their selenoprotein production and thus antioxidant defenses. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Namgyu Lee, Anne E Carlisle, Dohoon Kim. Examining xCT-mediated selenium uptake and selenoprotein production capacity in cells. Methods in enzymology. 2022;662:1-24

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    PMID: 35101206

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