Modulation of cellular signaling and gene expression by vitamin E

Jean Marc Zingg, Angelo Azzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In recent years, the specific cellular effects of vitamin E that are the consequence of modulating signal transduction and gene expression have been described. The natural (α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocopherol and α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocotrienol) and synthetic vitamin E analogues affect the cellular behavior differentially, suggesting that they do not act on a single molecular target. Furthermore, these effects are often not explainable by a general antioxidant action and thus most likely reflect specific interactions of vitamin E with enzymes, structural proteins, lipids and transcription factors. At the cellular level, the different vitamin E analogues can modulate cell proliferation, apoptosis, platelet aggregation, monocyte adhesion and the differentiation of hippocampus neurons. At the enzyme level, the tocopherols inhibit protein kinase C (PKC), protein kinase B (PKB), tyrosine kinases, 5-lipoxygenase and phospholipase A2, and activate protein phosphatase 2A and diacylglycerol kinase. At the transcriptional level, the expression of a growing number of genes is modulated by the tocopherols. Further research is required to define which of these activities render tocopherol (and, in particular, α-tocopherol), an essential nutrient-a vitamin-in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationViral Gene Expression Regulation
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)9781607412243
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • α-tocopheryl phosphate
  • Gene regulation
  • Hypoxia
  • Metabolism
  • NADPH-oxidase
  • Non-antioxidant effects
  • Proteasome
  • Signal transduction
  • Tocopherol analogues
  • Tocopherol binding proteins
  • Transport
  • Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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