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Old Tue, Dec-25-18, 12:42
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mike_d mike_d is offline
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Question Intermittent Fasting: Health benefits -- mechanisms?

A study in Cell:
Fasting-stimulus responses are key to the longevity response; however, the mechanisms that sense and transduce the fasting stimulus remain largely unknown. Moreover, we have identified important transcriptional targets of these signaling pathways, which function in IF-induced longevity.

Unknown, but maybe all the puzzle pieces are likely there; waiting to be put together?

Technical warning

A gene: In humans is composed of approximately 8446 base pairs of A-T, G-C, and (generally) codes for one protein. The structure of a gene consists of many elements of which the actual protein coding sequence is often only a small part. These include DNA regions that are not transcribed, up to 98% of our DNA may be junk or regulatory DNA, as well as untranslated regions of the RNA.

A promoter: The cauliflower mosaic virus CaMV (35S) gene is an "always on" promoter used to genetically modify plants [by activating added genes] in horticulture.
Different types of promoters, including those that require specific environmental signals in order to switch “on”, are found throughout the natural world. Promoters can be about 100–1000 base pairs long.

A promoter is the main regulatory portion of a gene. The simplest analogy is that a promoter is a “switch” that [epigenetically*] turns a gene “on” or “off.” It is the portion of the gene where cellular machinery binds before transcribing the DNA blueprint into a useful RNA. There are different types of RNA that may be transcribed, including messenger RNA’s (mRNAs) that encode useful proteins and regulatory RNAs that mediate gene silencing. But, the first step is always binding of an RNA polymerase to the gene’s promoter. No promoter, no useful RNAs or proteins!

The key here is "promoters" and "enhancers" are critical parts of the complex machinery of a cell and can be enabled by outside stimuli in the biological environment.

So I submit "fasting stress" or (natural nutrient energy unavailability) is likely one of these.
Promoters represent critical elements that can work in concert with other regulatory regions (enhancers, silencers, boundary elements/insulators) to direct the level of transcription of a given gene. A promoter is induced in response to changes in abundance or conformation of regulatory proteins in a cell, which enable activating transcription factors to recruit RNA polymerase.
Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 24;281(8):4856-66.

Epigenetic factors:
Epigenetic mechanisms are affected by several factors and processes including development in utero and in childhood, environmental chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, aging, and diet. DNA methylation is what occurs when methyl groups, an epigenetic factor found in some dietary sources, can tag DNA and activate or repress genes.

Histone modification occurs when the binding of epigenetic factors to histone “tails” alters the extent to which DNA is wrapped or coiled around histone proteins and limits the mechanical availability of genes in the DNA to be activated. All of these factors and processes can have an effect on people’s health; possibly resulting in cancer, autoimmune disease, mental disorders, or diabetes among other illnesses.

The standard definition of epigenetics requires these alterations to be heritable, either in the progeny of cells or organisms. The term also refers to the changes themselves: functionally relevant changes to the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. -- NIH
A Summary: Fasting may indeed activate "survival genes" all humans possess that are seldom -- if ever -- expressed?
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