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Sulfur and selenium occur in proteins as constituents of the amino acids cysteine, methionine, selenocysteine, and selenomethionine. Recent research underscores that these amino acids are truly exceptional. Their redox activity under physiological conditions allows an amazing variety of posttranslational protein modifications, metal free redox pathways, and unusual chalcogen redox states that increasingly attract the attention of biological chemists. Unlike any other amino acid, the “redox chameleon” cysteine can participate in several distinct redox pathways, including exchange and radical reactions, as well as atom-, electron-, and hydride-transfer reactions.
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