Selenoprotein H Is a Redox-sensing High Mobility Group Family DNA-binding Protein That Up-regulates Genes Involved in Glutathione Synthesis and Phase II Detoxification
Selenoprotein H is a recently identified member of the selenoprotein family whose function is not fully known. Previous studies from our laboratory and others showed that Drosophila melanogaster selenoprotein H is essential for viability and antioxidant defense. In this study we investigated the function of human selenoprotein H in murine hippocampal HT22 cells engineered to stably overexpress the protein. After treatment of cells with l-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine to deplete glutathione, selenoprotein H-overexpressing cells exhibited higher levels of total glutathione, total antioxidant capacities, and glutathione peroxidase enzymatic activity than did vector control cells. Overexpression of selenoprotein H also up-regulated the mRNA levels of endogenous selenoprotein H, glutamylcysteine synthetase heavy and light chains, and glutathione S-transferases Alpha 2, Alpha 4, and Omega 1. The amino acid sequence of selenoprotein H contains four putative nuclear localization sequences and an AT-hook motif, a small DNA-binding domain first identified in high mobility group proteins. Chromatin immunoprecipitation using a green fluorescent protein-selenoprotein H fusion revealed binding to sequences containing heat shock and/or stress response elements. Thus, selenoprotein H is a redox-responsive DNA-binding protein of the AT-hook family and functions in regulating expression levels of genes involved in de novo glutathione synthesis and phase II detoxification in response to redox status.