Folate: Could We Live Without It? A Novel Epigenetic Connection
Folate is an essential nutrient obtained through diet and supplements. The term folate is used interchangeably with folic acid, its synthetic form. Folate is metabolized in the one-carbon pathway, and its metabolites are used for a number of biological processes. Metabolites of folate are used in nucleotide synthesis and methylation. In fact, the one-carbon pathway produces the major methyl donor used in methylation, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Folate and DNA methylation are, therefore, closely entwined. Folate deficiency is associated with a number of diseases including congenital disabilities. In the last couple of decades, folate or folic acid supplementation is highly promoted in pregnancy because folate deficiency leads to neural tube defects with a wide range of consequences in children. Folate deficiency is also associated with gastric and colorectal cancers, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. Alterations in global DNA methylation and disease-specific gene methylation patterns are implicated in the development and progression of these diseases. Folate is an important nutrient to understand the epigenetic regulation of disease.
KeywordsFolate DNA methylation Epigenetics Diabetes Cancer Folic acid DNA methyltransferase DNMT Cardiovascular disease Methyl donor
List of Abbreviations
Centers for Disease Control
CpG island methylator phenotype
- CpG Island
Ten–eleven translocation proteins
World Health Organization
The Morris L. Lichtenstein Jr. Medical Research Foundation supports Mahua Choudhury.
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