Nutrient-gene interactions: a single nutrient and hundreds of target genes

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Based on the effects of a selective experimental zinc deficiency in a rodent model we explore the use of transcriptome profiling for assessing nutrient-gene interactions in the liver at the molecular and cellular levels. Zinc deficiency caused pleiotropic alterations in mRNA/protein levels of hundreds of genes. In the context of observed metabolic alterations in hepatic metabolism, possible mechanisms are discussed for how a low zinc status may be sensed and transmitted into changes in various metabolic pathways. However, it also becomes obvious that analysis of such complex nutrient-gene interactions beyond the descriptional level is a real challenge for systems biology.

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