The computer program RNA Draw was used to identify the secondary structures in the 3′ untranslated regions (3′UTRs) of the mRNAs from 46 eukaryotic selenoproteins among 7 species. The program found one or two possible SECIS elements in these selenoproteins. The SECIS element consists of a stem-loop or hairpin structure with three conserved sequences of AUGA-(A)AA-GA. SECIS element was not found by the RNA Draw program in randomly selected non-selenoproteins. The results showed that SECIS element is the unique character of the genes of eukaryotic selenoproteins. Thus it is possible to use RNA Draw to search the SECIS elements in gene bank for potential new selenoproteins.
- 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR), selenocysteine insertion sequence (SECIS), RNA Draw program
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