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Gene Regulation by Minerals and Vitamins

BY: Nidhi Uppangala | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2010-06-29 21:00:54
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Article Summary: "In humans and also in other animals expression of gene is also regulated by the kind of nutrients present in ones diet. Not only macro nutrients like carbohydrate, proteins and fat play a major role in regulating gene expression but also micronutrients like mineral and vitamins also involved in gene regulation..."


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Introduction:

In humans and also in other animals expression of gene is also regulated by the kind of nutrients present in ones diet. Not only macro nutrients like carbohydrate, proteins and fat play a major role in regulating gene expression but also micronutrients like mineral and vitamins also involved in gene regulation.

Mineral Zinc and Gene Expression:

1. Zinc acts as co-factor of so many enzymes and proteins. These enzymes and proteins are involved in the hormone secretion, defense mechanism of the body, intermediate metabolism.
2. Zinc also regulates the expression of genes present in small intestine, thymus and hepatic cells.
3. Transcription of genes metalothionin I and II are regulated by zinc dependant transcription factor activator metal responsive element factor-I (MREF-I).
4. Translation or protein synthesis of HT-29 cell line is also dependant on the concentration of zinc present in the culture media.
5. ATP synthase, cytochrome-c, cytochrome-a, NADP dehydrogenase I and II are regulated by zinc.

Deficiency of one or more minerals in diet of a person will lead to abnormal or impaired functioning of the body. Deficiency or excess availability of minerals in soil or water of an area also effects the gene expression. Such as iron, selenium or availability or high concentration of heavy metals like mercury, cadmium also impacts the health and expression of genes of an individual. For example iron deficiency in an individual will lead to a condition known as anemia.

Vitamin and Gene Expression:

1. Expression of genes such as PEPCK (phosphor enol pyruate kinase), Insulin like growth factor-9 (IGF 9) are influenced by Vitamin A.
2. Biotin plays an important role in the synthesis of many proteins and it also regulates expression genes by regulating transcription.
3. Hepatic gene expression is controlled by vitamin C.

Vitamin A and PEPCK Gene Expression:

1. PEPCK is a vitamin A dependant enzyme.
2. PEPCK is involved in conversion of oxaloacetate to phosphor enol pyruate one of the important steps of gluconeogenesis.
3. Vitamin A also plays a important role in inducing structural stability to the chromosome.
4. Vitamin A deficiency leads to structural changes in RARE (Retinoic acid responsive element) chromosome, this further leads to changes in co regulator binding and activation of the gene.
PEPCK - RARE interaction reduces the interaction between RNA polymerase II with the gene and finally results in low concentration of PEPCK enzyme and this leads to improvement of gluconeogenesis.

Applications:

1. Studying influence of nutrients on human gene expression will be useful in understanding the importance of nutrients on human health.
2. These study can be used to produce genetically modified food, which contain sufficient amount of all nutrients required to lead a normal healthy life.
3. Food products can be engineered to avoid the onset of some of the diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and much more.

Conclusion:

All these gene regulations by vitamins and minerals occur in the body during normal conditions. Diet or nutrients play a role in gene expression; therefore composition of one's diet is very important to lead a healthy life. Therefore one should avoid the modern day food or junk food to avoid health conditions induced by malnutrition.

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