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      Selenium Species: Current Status and Potentials in Cancer Prevention and Therapy


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          Selenium (Se) acts as an essential trace element in the human body due to its unique biological functions, particularly in the oxidation-reduction system. Although several clinical trials indicated no significant benefit of Se in preventing cancer, researchers reported that some Se species exhibit superior anticancer properties. Therefore, a reassessment of the status of Se and Se compounds is necessary in order to provide clearer insights into the potentiality of Se in cancer prevention and therapy. In this review, we organize relevant forms of Se species based on the three main categories of Se—inorganic, organic, and Se-containing nanoparticles (SeNPs)—and overview their potential functions and applications in oncology. Here, we specifically focus on the SeNPs as they have tremendous potential in oncology and other fields. In general, to make better use of Se compounds in cancer prevention and therapy, extensive further study is still required to understand the underlying mechanisms of the Se compounds.

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          Epigenetics and genetics. MicroRNAs en route to the clinic: progress in validating and targeting microRNAs for cancer therapy.

          In normal cells multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) converge to maintain a proper balance of various processes, including proliferation, differentiation and cell death. miRNA dysregulation can have profound cellular consequences, especially because individual miRNAs can bind to and regulate multiple mRNAs. In cancer, the loss of tumour-suppressive miRNAs enhances the expression of target oncogenes, whereas increased expression of oncogenic miRNAs (known as oncomirs) can repress target tumour suppressor genes. This realization has resulted in a quest to understand the pathways that are regulated by these miRNAs using in vivo model systems, and to comprehend the feasibility of targeting oncogenic miRNAs and restoring tumour-suppressive miRNAs for cancer therapy. Here we discuss progress in using mouse models to understand the roles of miRNAs in cancer and the potential for manipulating miRNAs for cancer therapy as these molecules make their way towards clinical trials.
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            From selenium to selenoproteins: synthesis, identity, and their role in human health.

            The requirement of the trace element selenium for life and its beneficial role in human health has been known for several decades. This is attributed to low molecular weight selenium compounds, as well as to its presence within at least 25 proteins, named selenoproteins, in the form of the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec). Incorporation of Sec into selenoproteins employs a unique mechanism that involves decoding of the UGA codon. This process requires multiple features such as the selenocysteine insertion sequence (SECIS) element and several protein factors including a specific elongation factor EFSec and the SECIS binding protein 2, SBP2. The function of most selenoproteins is currently unknown; however, thioredoxin reductases (TrxR), glutathione peroxidases (GPx) and thyroid hormone deiodinases (DIO) are well characterised selenoproteins involved in redox regulation of intracellular signalling, redox homeostasis and thyroid hormone metabolism. Recent evidence points to a role for selenium compounds as well as selenoproteins in the prevention of some forms of cancer. A number of clinical trials are either underway or being planned to examine the effects of selenium on cancer incidence. In this review we describe some of the recent progress in our understanding of the mechanism of selenoprotein synthesis, the role of selenoproteins in human health and disease and the therapeutic potential of some of these proteins.
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              Biogenic selenium nanoparticles: current status and future prospects.

              Selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) are gaining importance in the field of medicine owing to their antibacterial and anticancer properties. SeNPs are biocompatible and non-toxic compared to the counterparts, selenite (SeO3 (-2)) and selenate (SeO4 (-2)). They can be synthesized by physical, chemical, and biological methods and have distinct bright orange-red color. Biogenic SeNPs are stable and do not aggregate owing to natural coating of the biomolecules. Various hypotheses have been proposed to describe the mechanism of microbial synthesis of SeNPs. It is primarily a two-step reduction process from SeO4 (-2) to SeO3 (-2) to insoluble elemental selenium (Se(0)) catalyzed by selenate and selenite reductases. Phenazine-1-carboxylic acid and glutathione are involved in selenite reduction. Se factor A (SefA) and metalloid reductase Rar A present on the surface of SeNPs confer stability to the nanoparticles. SeNPs act as potent chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents. Conjugation with antibiotics enhances their anticancer efficacy. These also have applications in nanobiosensors and environmental remediation.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                25 December 2018
                January 2019
                : 20
                : 1
                : 75
                Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Epigenetics, Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, China; hwtan@ 123456stu.edu.cn (H.W.T.); 16hymo@ 123456stu.edu.cn (H.-Y.M.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: andytylau@ 123456stu.edu.cn (A.T.Y.L.); amyymxu@ 123456stu.edu.cn (Y.-M.X.); Tel.: +86-754-8853-0052 (A.T.Y.L.); +86-754-8890-0437 (Y.-M.X.)

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Author information
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 15 November 2018
                : 20 December 2018

                Molecular biology
                selenium species,se-containing nanoparticles,anticancer,chemotherapeutics,epigenetics


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