TitleZinc deficiency alters DNA damage response genes in normal human prostate epithelial cells.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsYan, M, Song, Y, Wong, CP, Hardin, K, Ho, E
JournalThe Journal of nutrition
Date Published2008 Apr

Zinc is an essential trace element for human health and is a critical component of many proteins and transcription factors involved in DNA damage response and repair. The prostate is known to accumulate high levels of zinc, but levels are markedly decreased with cancer development. We hypothesized that zinc plays a critical role in maintaining DNA integrity in the prostate and zinc deficiency would lead to increased DNA damage and altered DNA damage response mechanisms. To test this hypothesis, the goal of this study was to determine the effects of zinc deficiency on DNA damage and DNA repair mechanisms by examining changes in global gene expression and transcription factor binding abilities in normal prostate epithelial cells (PrEC). Increased single-strand DNA breaks (Comet assay) were observed in PrEC grown in zinc-deficient media compared with cells grown in zinc-adequate media for 7 d. Using Affymetrix HG-U133A gene chips, differential expression of genes involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, transcription, and DNA damage response and repair were identified with low cellular zinc. Among genes involved in DNA damage response and repair, tumor protein p73, MRE11 meiotic recombination 11 homolog A, X-ray repair complementing defective repair in Chinese hamster cells 4, and breast cancer 2, early onset were down-regulated and TP53 was up-regulated. Additionally, western blotting showed increased nuclear p53 protein expression with zinc deficiency. Despite increased p53 gene and nuclear protein expression, there was no significant change in p53 binding activity. Zinc deficiency also induced an increase in binding activity of transcription factors involved in regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis. Thus, zinc deficiency may compromise DNA integrity in the prostate by impairing the function of zinc-containing proteins.