Friday, April 1, 2011

CDKN2A and its response to diet

Although it is April 1st here, there is some serious business taking place on my desktop: Cleanup day. I'm reading through an electronic pile of papers and news items that have gathered over the last weeks.

Here's an interesting bit about human gene CDKN2A. This gene encodes cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A and is also known as p16INK4a. Suppression of CDKN2A by glucose restriction in human cells (fetal lung fibroblasts) was shown by Li & Tollefsbol to contribute to lifespan extension via epigenetic and genetic mechanisms that were mediated by SIRT1.

A year ago, we published a paper showing the effects on gene expression in mononuclear cells in metabolic syndrome subjects after intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil. We noted repressed expression of several pro-inflammatory genes. Interestingly, CDKN2A was also significantly repressed. Thus, two dietary conditions - low glucose and phenol-rich olive oil - repress expression of this gene, albeit in different cell types and under different circumstances.