Methionine sulfoxide reductases are key enzymes that repair oxidatively damaged proteins. Two distinct stereospecific enzyme families are responsible for this function: MsrA (methionine-5-sulfoxide reductase) and MsrB (methionine-R-sulfoxide reductase). In the present study, we identified multiple selenoprotein MsrA sequences in organisms from bacteria to animals. We characterized the selenocysteine (Sec)-containing Chlamydomonas MsrA and found that this protein exhibited 10-50-fold higher activity than either its cysteine (Cys) mutant form or the natural mouse Cys-containing MsrA, making this selenoenzyme the most efficient MsrA known. We also generated a selenoprotein form of mouse MsrA and found that the presence of Sec increased the activity of this enzyme when a resolving Cys was mutated in the protein. These data suggest that the presence of Sec improves the reduction of methionine sulfoxide by MsrAs. However, the oxidized selenoprotein could not always be efficiently reduced to regenerate the active enzyme. Overall, this study demonstrates that sporadically evolved Sec-containing forms of methionine sulfoxide reductases reflect catalytic advantages provided by Sec in these and likely other thiol-dependent oxidoreductases.
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