Selenoprotein P (Se-P) contains most of the selenium in plasma. Its function is not known. Mice with the Se-P gene deleted (Sepp(-/-)) were generated. Two phenotypes were observed: 1) Sepp(-/-) mice lost weight and developed poor motor coordination when fed diets with selenium below 0.1 mg/kg, and 2) male Sepp(-/-) mice had sharply reduced fertility. Weanling male Sepp(+/+), Sepp(+/-), and Sepp(-/-) mice were fed diets for 8 weeks containing <0.02-2 mg selenium/kg. Sepp(+/+) and Sepp(+/-) mice had similar selenium concentrations in all tissues except plasma where a gene-dose effect on Se-P was observed. Liver selenium was unaffected by Se-P deletion except that it increased when dietary selenium was below 0.1 mg/kg. Selenium in other tissues exhibited a continuum of responses to Se-P deletion. Testis selenium was depressed to 19% in mice fed an 0.1 mg selenium/kg diet and did not rise to Sepp(+/+) levels even with a dietary selenium of 2 mg/kg. Brain selenium was depressed to 43%, but feeding 2 mg selenium/kg diet raised it to Sepp(+/+) levels. Kidney was depressed to 76% and reached Sepp(+/+) levels on an 0.25 mg selenium/kg diet. Heart selenium was not affected. These results suggest that the Sepp(-/-) phenotypes were caused by low selenium in testis and brain. They strongly suggest that Se-P from liver provides selenium to several tissues, especially testis and brain. Further, they indicate that transport forms of selenium other than Se-P exist because selenium levels of all tissues except testis responded to increases of dietary selenium in Sepp(-/-) mice.