Regulation of Selenium/Sulfur Interactions to Enhance Chemopreventive Effects : Lessons to Learn from Brassicacrassiceae
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element, which represents an integral part of glutathione peroxidase and other selenoproteins involved in the protection of cells against oxidative damage. Selenomethionine (SeMet), selenocysteine (SeCys), and methylselenocysteine (MeSeCys) are the forms of Se that occur in living systems. Se-containing compounds have been found to reduce carcinogenesis of animal models, and dietary supplemental Se might decrease cancer risk. Se is mainly taken up by plant roots in the form of selenate via high-affinity sulfate transporters. Consequently, owing to the chemical similarity between Se and sulfur (S), the availability of S plays a key role in Se accumulation owing to competition effects in absorption, translocation, and assimilation. Moreover, naturally occurring S-containing compounds have proven to exhibit anticancer potential, in addition to other bioactivities. Therefore, it is important to understand the interaction between Se and S, which depends on Se/S ratio in the plant or/and in the growth medium. Brassicaceae (also known as cabbage or mustard family) is an important family of flowering plants that are grown worldwide and have a vital role in agriculture and populations' health. In this review we discuss the distribution and further interactions between S and Se in Brassicaceae and provide several examples of Se or Se/S biofortifications' experiments in brassica vegetables that induced the chemopreventive effects of these crops by enhancing the production of Se- or/and S-containing natural compounds. Extensive further research is required to understand Se/S uptake, translocation, and assimilation and to investigate their potential role in producing anticancer drugs.