Effects of methionine synthase and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms on markers of one-carbon metabolism.
Genetic and nutritional factors play a role in determining the functionality of the one-carbon (1C) metabolism cycle, a network of biochemical reactions critical to intracellular processes. Genes encoding enzymes for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and methionine synthase (MTR) may determine biomarkers of the cycle including homocysteine (HCY), S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH). MTHFR C677T is an established genetic determinant of HCY but less is known of its effect on SAM and SAH. Conversely, the relationship between MTR A2756G and HCY remains inconclusive, and its effect on SAM and SAH has only been previously investigated in a female-specific population. Folate and vitamin B12 are essential substrate and cofactor of 1C metabolism; thus, consideration of gene-nutrient interactions may clarify the role of genetic determinants of HCY, SAM and SAH. This cross-sectional study included 570 healthy volunteers from Kingston, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Least squares regression was used to examine the effects of MTR and MTHFR polymorphisms on plasma HCY, SAM and SAH concentrations; gene-gene and gene-nutrient interactions were considered with the inclusion of cross-products in the model. Main effects of MTR and MTHFR polymorphisms on HCY concentrations were observed; however, no gene-gene or gene-nutrient interactions were found. No association was observed for SAM. For SAH, interactions between MTR and MTHFR polymorphisms, and MTHFR polymorphism and serum folate were found. The findings of this research provide evidence that HCY and SAH, biomarkers of 1C metabolism, are influenced by genetic and nutritional factors and their interactions.