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
Decline of the Human Diet
The Need for a Dietary Micronutrient UpgradeMortality 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 RNA—ribosomal, 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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