Working Group Dr. Kostja Renko

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Field of Research

  • influence of aminoglycoside antibiotics on selenoprotein biosynthesis
  • Sandell-Kolthoff-based assays
  • TAM-effects in pancreatic islets

Research Topics

The human genome contains a tiny number of genes (~25), which code for enzymes/proteins containing the 21st proteinogenic aminoacid selenocystein within their primary structure. These proteins are essential for our organism, therefore defining selenium as an essential trace element that we need to take up in appropriate amounts. The biosynthesis of these proteins is complicated and includes a recoding mechanism of the stop-codon Opal (TGA), which, in these rare cases, stands for "selenocystein" instead of termination. Some antibiotics, e.g. aminoglycosides, interfere with the mechanism of protein biosynthesis and may especially harm this essential recoding mechanism. This might contribute to the severe side effects of this class of antibiotics.In our ongoing work, we evaluate this proposed effect on the background of current clinical use of these compounds. What are the effects of aminoglycosides on selenoprotein biosynthesis in vitro and in vivo? Future will tell…