One-Carbon Metabolism–Genome Interactions in Folate-Associated Pathologies
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Impairments in folate-mediated 1-carbon metabolism are associated with several common diseases and developmental anomalies including intestinal cancers, vascular disease, cognitive decline, and neural tube defects. The etiology of folate-associated pathologies involves interactions among multiple genetic risk alleles and environmental factors, although the causal mechanisms that define the role of folate and other B-vitamins in these complex disorders remain to be established. Folate and other B-vitamins fundamentally differ from other nutrients that interact with the genome in determining health and disease outcomes in that their interaction is reciprocal. Common gene variants influence the activity of folate-dependent enzymes and anabolic pathways; folate-mediated 1-carbon metabolism is essential for the high-fidelity synthesis of DNA and activated methyl groups that are required for DNA methylation and regulation of chromatin structure. This review focuses on the regulation of folate-mediated 1-carbon metabolism and its role in maintaining genome integrity and on strategies for establishing the metabolic pathways and mechanisms that underlie folate-associated pathologies.
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