Involvement in Gene Regulation and Cell Proliferation
Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA near its start site or "regulatory region" where it begins to transcribe a gene. They regulate gene expression by either facilitating or inhibiting the enzyme RNA polymerase in the initiation and maintenance of transcription. Certain micronutrients such as folic acid, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E, bind to their specific nuclear receptor proteins and act as or activate transcription factors to mediate gene expression in the regulation of cell proliferation within the cell cycle (Kim YI, 2005, Kato S, 2000, Maden M, 2000, de Nigris F, 2000, Meier CA,1997, Slansky JE,1996, Sullivan TA,1994, Hashimoto Y, 1991).
Some of these regulating proteins (transcription factors) act as "tumor suppressor genes" as they have the ability to suppress uncontrolled cell proliferation, an event that is central to the development of cancer. The tumor suppressor gene p53, a transcription factor considered to be the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer, blocks cell cycle progression (cell division) and induces apoptosis (cell death). In this way p53 suppresses tumor growth (Werner H,1996). Zinc molecules form zinc finger proteins that act to stabilize the shape of p53, keeping it from being mutated so that it can function fully (Kihara C, 2000). Retinoic acid, an active form of vitamin A, also stimulates p53 activity as well as the transcription factor and tumor suppressor gene Rb (retinoblastoma protein or p105) (Um SJ,2000). It also appears to be involved in the stimulation of B1 cells and T cells in early immune response to pathogens (Maruya, M, 2011). Other transcription factors (eg: Fos and Jun) stimulate gene expression in key protein molecules (eg: interluekin-2 secreted by activated T-cells) involved in proper cell-mediated immune response. Still others are involved in stimulating the development of certain embryonic organs such as WT-1 which initiates the formation of the gonads and kidneys in the fetus (Gilbert SF, 1997).
Importance of Diet
It is important that the human body receive an abundance of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains on a daily basis in order to have an adequate supply of micronutrients to function in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation. Ongoing research continues to support the hypothesis that dietary factors significantly influence the incidence of human malignancies and disease processes (Weisburger JH, 2001 &2000, Otsuka M, 2000, Willett WC, 999). Leading health authorities are urging all people to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in order to strengthen their resistance to chronic diseases, yet many are not complying with this recommendation (Cerully JL, 2006, Cavadini C, 2000).
Decline of the Human Diet
In recent years, American diets, as well as others such as in the United Kingdom and Australia, have deteriorated, particularly among adolescents, with carbonated soft drinks replacing juices and milk, and high fat red meats and salty french fries replacing fish and green/orange vegetables. Very few diets in the modern world contain the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially raw and unprocessed. Daily fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents often falls well below five servings (Magarey A, 2001, Cavadini C, 2000). Intake of whole grain foods, which are also rich sources of antioxidant and B vitamins, has also been found to be lacking in the American diet. On average, Americans consume only one serving or less per day of whole-grains, far below the FDA's daily recommendation of three servings Slavin JL, 2001). Most diets studied in developed countries, especially those of the elderly, women, and youth, have been found to be deficient in at least calcium, zinc, folic acid, iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C (Fenech M. 2001, Marshall TA, 2001, Stang J, 2000, Giddens JB, 2000). The typical modern diet is not only devoid of essential micronutrients, but also contains potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs that in themselves require additional micronutrients in order to be broken down and disposed of effectively. The modern human diet in general has declined significantly from that of early man where wild game, fish, and uncultivated plant foods high in phytochemicals and micronutrients were the main constituents. Our genome, however, remains essentially unchanged, requiring this ancestral diet or these elements in the same ratio to promote health and prevent disease (Eaton SB, 2000). If current dietary trends continue, particularly among our youth, researchers predict the health of future generations will most likely be seriously compromised (Cavadini C, 2000).
The Need for a Dietary Micronutrient Upgrade
Mortality statistics from the WHO database covering the period of 1960 to 1990 support only one diet, the traditional Greek Mediterranean diet, high in antioxidants from such foods as olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and wild plants, as a diet that is beneficial to health and longevity (Trichopoulou A, 2000, Trichopoulou A, 2003). It has been roughly estimated that up to 25% of colorectal cancers, about 15% of the breast cancers, and about 10% of prostate, pancreas, and endometrial cancers could be prevented if developed Western countries shifted to the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet (Trichopoulou A, 2000). A daily multiple vitamin/mineral supplement provides an essential safeguard against cancer and various diseases, especially in individuals on the typical modern-day cooked and processed, high fat Western diet.
Proteins Being Made on the Rough Endoplasmic
Reticulum (RER) within the Cell Cytoplasm
Proteins are continuously being made and assembled in a consistent and accurate manner within somatic cells provided all the raw materials are available (eg: amino acids, micronutrients, transcription factors, etc). These proteins create enzymes that stimulate key regulatory genes (eg: tumor suppressor gene p53) that express or suppress cell division and differentiation. If key elements are not present in sufficient quantities during the process of transcription and cell division, mutations can occur, creating defects which can manifest as diseases and developmental abnormalities such as birth defects and cancer.
RNA, present in all living cells, controls protein synthesis within the cytoplasm. It transports and translates genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. There are three types of RNAŚribosomal, messenger, and transfer RNA. All are formed within the nucleolus by transcription (copying of specific portions of chromosomal DNA), and enter the cytoplasm through the nuclear pores.
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