Marla J. Berry, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of the Dept of Cell and Molecular Biology

John A. Burns School of Medicine

University of Hawaii at Manoa

651 Ilalo St, Room 222G

Honolulu HI 96813





Ph.D., 1986, University of California, Santa Barbara


Research in the Berry lab is focused on selenoproteins, proteins containing the essential trace element, selenium, in the form of an unusual amino acid, selenocysteine. Most selenoproteins in higher organisms function either as antioxidants or in maintaining cellular redox balance. These functions explain the long-known antioxidant properties of selenium. In all selenoproteins whose functions are known, selenocysteine serves as the catalytic center of an enzyme, and its presence is required for optimal enzyme function. Selenocysteine, designated the 21st amino acid, is specified in the genetic code by UGA codons, which typically serve as stop codons. The process of inserting selenocysteine into proteins is unique to this amino acid, and occurs in organisms ranging from bacteria to man. Cotranslational incorporation of selenocysteine requires specialized factors and specific secondary structures in selenoprotein mRNAs. Our research focuses on two major areas, the mechanism and efficiency of selenoprotein biosynthesis, and the functions of selenoproteins in health and disease, including neuronal development and neurodegenerative diseases


Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, expression profiling using microarrays and qPCR, proteomics/2D differential gel electrophoresis


Changes in Selenoprotein P in Substantia Nigra and Putamen in Parkinson’s Disease. Bellinger FP, Raman AV, Rueli RH, Bellinger MT, Dewing AS, Seale LA, Andres MA, Uyehara-Lock JH, White LR, Ross GW, Berry MJ. J Parkinsons Dis. 2012 Oct 1;2(2):115-126.

Expression and Regulation of Mouse Selenoprotein P Transcript Variants Differing in Non-coding RNA. Dewing AA, Rueli RH, Robles MJ, Nguyen-Wu ED, Zeyda T, Berry MJ, Bellingrr FP. RNA Biol.2012 Nov 1;9(11):1361-9.

Disruption of the Selenocysteine Lyase-mediated Selenium Recycling Pathway Leads to Metabolic Syndrome in Mice. Seale LA,Hashimoto AC, Kurokawa S, Gilman CL, Seyedali A, Bellinger FP, Raman AV, Berry MJ.  Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Oct; 32(20):4141-54.

Supplement of Bamboo Extract Lowers Serum Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 Concentration in Mice Fed  a Diet Containing a High Level of Saturated Fat. Higa JK, Liu W, Berry MJ, Panee J. Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec; 106(12):1810-3.

Glutathione Peroxidase 4 is Associated With Neuromelanin in Substantia Nigra and Dystrophic Axons in Putamen of Parkinson’s Brain. Bellinger FP, Bellinger MT, Seale LA, Takemoto AS, Raman AV, Miki T, Manning-Bog AB, Berry MJ, White LR, Ross GW. Mol Neurodegener. 2011 Jan 21;6(1):8.

The Effect of Bamboo Extract on Hepatic Biotransforming Enzymes--Findings of an Obese-diabetic Mouse Model. Koide CL, Collier AC, Marla MJ, Panee J. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 7;133(1):37-45.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Berry MJ. Hawaii Med J. 2010 Jun;69(6):148-9.

Role of Selenoprotein P in Alzheimer’s Disease. Takemoto AS, Berry MJ, Bellinger FP. Ethn Diss. 2010 Winter;20(1 Supp 1):S1-92-5.

Dietary Selenium Modulates Activation and Differentiation of CD4+ T Cells in Mice Through a Mechanism Involving Cellular Free Thiols. Hoffmann FW, Hashimoto AC, Shafer LA, Dow S, Berry MJ, Hoffmann PR. J Nutr. 2010 Jun;140(6):155-61.

Metal Transcription Factor-1 Regulation Via MREs in the Transcribed Regions of Selenoprotein H and Other metal-responsive Genes. Stoytcheva ZR, Vladimirov V, Douet V, Stoychev I, Berry MJ. Biochem Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar; 1800(3):416-24.

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