Mthfd1 is a modifier of chemically induced intestinal carcinogenesis Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The causal metabolic pathways underlying associations between folate and risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) have yet to be established. Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism is required for the de novo synthesis of purines, thymidylate and methionine. Methionine is converted to S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), the major one-carbon donor for cellular methylation reactions. Impairments in folate metabolism can modify DNA synthesis, genomic stability and gene expression, characteristics associated with tumorigenesis. The Mthfd1 gene product, C1-tetrahydrofolate synthase, is a trifunctional enzyme that generates one-carbon substituted tetrahydrofolate cofactors for one-carbon metabolism. In this study, we use Mthfd1(gt/+) mice, which demonstrate a 50% reduction in C1-tetrahydrofolate synthase, to determine its influence on tumor development in two mouse models of intestinal cancer, crosses between Mthfd1(gt/+) and Apc(min)(/+) mice and azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon cancer in Mthfd1(gt/+) mice. Mthfd1 hemizygosity did not affect colon tumor incidence, number or load in Apc(min/+) mice. However, Mthfd1 deficiency increased tumor incidence 2.5-fold, tumor number 3.5-fold and tumor load 2-fold in AOM-treated mice. DNA uracil content in the colon was lower in Mthfd1(gt/+) mice, indicating that thymidylate biosynthesis capacity does not play a significant role in AOM-induced colon tumorigenesis. Mthfd1 deficiency-modified cellular methylation potential, as indicated by the AdoMet: S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio and gene expression profiles, suggesting that changes in the transcriptome and/or decreased de novo purine biosynthesis and associated mutability cause cellular transformation in the AOM CRC model. This study emphasizes the impact and complexity of gene-nutrient interactions with respect to the relationships among folate metabolism and colon cancer initiation and progression.

author list (cited authors)

  • MacFarlane, A. J., Perry, C. A., McEntee, M. F., Lin, D. M., & Stover, P. J.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • March 2011