Vol. 133, No. 2 | February 2018 Cosmetics & Toiletries® | 31
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that we attributed to genes more control than
they actually have.
The “central dogma of molecular biology,”
coined by Francis Crick in 1958—in essence,
the belief that one DNA is translated to one
RNA, and one RNA is translated to one protein
that exhibits one function—was proven inaccurate. In fact, in reality, it was found that there
is more control by the epigenome, where epi
means beyond or above, in controlling biological functioning than to the genome itself.
In the personal care industry, companies
conduct gene expression studies and present
those results to imply, with certainty, that raw
materials and formulations are affecting the
skin’s biology. It is important to understand
there are limitations to such data sets and to
consider them in the correct context.
The technical term gene expression merely
means that a DNA sequence is translated in the
cell nucleus to messenger RNA (mRNA). When
a specific gene is up-regulated, this means the
amount of mRNA generated from that sequence
is higher in quantity than normal; when it is
down-regulated, it means the quantity is lower
The translation of DNA to mRNA is a step
in the production of peptides and proteins—
mRNA may or may not be translated to a
protein. Peptides and proteins are small or
larger sequences of amino acids, respectively,
and are the “working horses” of our bodies.
They act as cytokines to deliver messages, as
enzymes to facilitate energy-efficient biochemical cascades, and as receptors to communicate
between both different cellular compartments
and the cell and its environment.
While today’s technological tools allow us to
quantify and qualify gene and protein expression, it is important to understand that if a gene
is being expressed, this does not equate with
actual activity, since it must be further translated to a protein.
Moreover, even if the protein is created, it
needs an adequate environment to impart that
appropriate and desired activity. The mere
three-dimensional structure of a protein is dictated by its environment, which will continue to
shape it via post-translational modifications.
Therefore, when conducting an in vitro
study to measure ingredient activity and
efficacy, the methods used should be considered and evaluated knowing their advantages
and limitations. Thus, with today’s available
technologies and tools, a cost-effective and
meaningful study can be tailored to maximize
Gene and protein expression do not equate
with actual activity since further translation
to a protein must take place.
Source: Grand View Research
The global gene expression market is expected
to reach US $11.3 billion by 2025, led by
demand for targeted molecular therapeutics
and precision medicine.