Using global expression profiling and pathway analysis on α-tocopherol-induced gene perturbation in bovine cells, this study has generated comprehensive information on the physiological functions of α-tocopherol. The data confirmed α-tocopherol is a potent regulator of gene expression and α-tocopherol possesses novel transcriptional activities that affect essential biological processes. The genes identified fall within a broad range of functional categories and provide the molecular basis for its distinctive effects. Enrichment analyses of gene regulatory networks indicate α-tocopherol alter the canonical pathway of lipid metabolism and transcription factors SREBP1 and SREBP2, (Sterol regulatory element binding proteins), which mediate the regulatory functions of lipid metabolism. Transcription factors HNF4-α (Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4), c-Myc, SP1 (Sp1 transcription factor), ESR1 (estrogen receptor 1, nuclear), and androgen receptor, along with several others, were centered as the hubs of transcription regulation networks. The data also provided direct evidence that α-tocopherol is involved in maintaining immuno-homeostasis through targeting the C3 (Complement Component 3) gene.
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