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1.  HDAC6 and SIRT2 regulate the acetylation state and oncogenic activity of mutant K-RAS 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2013;11(9):1072-1077.
Activating point mutations in K-RAS are extremely common in cancers of the lung, colon, and pancreas and are highly predictive of poor therapeutic response. One potential strategy for overcoming the deleterious effects of mutant K-RAS is to alter its post-translational modification. While therapies targeting farnesylation have been explored, and ultimately failed, the therapeutic potential of targeting other modifications remains to be seen. We recently demonstrated that acetylation of lysine 104 attenuates K-RAS transforming activity by interfering with GEF-induced nucleotide exchange. Here, we have identified HDAC6 and SIRT2 as deacetylases that regulate the acetylation state of K-RAS in cancer cells. By extension, inhibition of either of these enzymes dramatically affects the growth properties of cancer cell lines expressing mutationally activated K-RAS. These results suggest that therapeutic targeting of HDAC6 and/or SIRT2 may represent a new way to treat cancers expressing mutant forms of K-RAS.
PMCID: PMC3778089  PMID: 23723075
2.  SIRT4 coordinates the balance between lipid synthesis and catabolism by repressing malonyl CoA decarboxylase 
Molecular cell  2013;50(5):686-698.
Lipid metabolism is tightly controlled by the nutritional state of the organism. Nutrient-rich conditions increase lipogenesis whereas nutrient deprivation promotes fat oxidation. In this study, we identify the mitochondrial sirtuin, SIRT4, as a novel regulator of lipid homeostasis. SIRT4 is active in nutrient-replete conditions to repress fatty acid oxidation while promoting lipid anabolism. SIRT4 deacetylates and inhibits malonyl CoA decarboxylase (MCD), an enzyme that produces acetyl CoA from malonyl CoA. Malonyl CoA provides the carbon skeleton for lipogenesis and also inhibits fat oxidation. Mice lacking SIRT4 display elevated MCD activity and decreased malonyl CoA in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue. Consequently, SIRT4 KO mice display deregulated lipid metabolism leading to increased exercise tolerance and protection against diet-induced obesity. In sum, this work elucidates SIRT4 as an important regulator of lipid homeostasis, identifies MCD as a novel SIRT4 target, and deepens our understanding of the malonyl CoA regulatory axis.
PMCID: PMC3721068  PMID: 23746352
3.  The mTORC1 pathway stimulates glutamine metabolism and cell proliferation by repressing SIRT4 
Cell  2013;153(4):840-854.
Proliferating mammalian cells use glutamine as a source of nitrogen and as a key anaplerotic source to provide metabolites to the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) for biosynthesis. Recently, mTORC1 activation has been correlated with increased nutrient uptake and metabolism, but no molecular connection to glutaminolysis has been reported. Here, we show that mTORC1 promotes glutamine anaplerosis by activating glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). This regulation requires transcriptional repression of SIRT4, the mitochondrial-localized sirtuin that inhibits GDH. Mechanistically, mTORC1 represses SIRT4 by promoting the proteasome-mediated destabilization of cAMP response element binding-2 (CREB2). Thus, a relationship between mTORC1, SIRT4 and cancer is suggested by our findings. Indeed, SIRT4 expression is reduced in human cancer, and its overexpression reduces cell proliferation, transformation and tumor development. Finally, our data indicate that targeting nutrient metabolism in energy-addicted cancers with high mTORC1 signaling may be an effective therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3684628  PMID: 23663782
4.  SIRT4 Represses Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor α Activity To Suppress Hepatic Fat Oxidation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(22):4552-4561.
Sirtuins are a family of protein deacetylases, deacylases, and ADP-ribosyltransferases that regulate life span, control the onset of numerous age-associated diseases, and mediate metabolic homeostasis. We have uncovered a novel role for the mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT4 in the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism during changes in nutrient availability. We show that SIRT4 levels decrease in the liver during fasting and that SIRT4 null mice display increased expression of hepatic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) target genes associated with fatty acid catabolism. Accordingly, primary hepatocytes from SIRT4 knockout (KO) mice exhibit higher rates of fatty acid oxidation than wild-type hepatocytes, and SIRT4 overexpression decreases fatty acid oxidation rates. The enhanced fatty acid oxidation observed in SIRT4 KO hepatocytes requires functional SIRT1, demonstrating a clear cross talk between mitochondrial and nuclear sirtuins. Thus, SIRT4 is a new component of mitochondrial signaling in the liver and functions as an important regulator of lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3838178  PMID: 24043310
5.  Altered social behavior and neuronal development in mice lacking the Uba6-Use1 ubiquitin transfer system 
Molecular cell  2013;50(2):172-184.
The Uba6 (E1)-Use1 (E2) ubiquitin transfer cascade is a poorly understood alternative arm of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) required for mouse embryonic development, independent of the canonical Uba1-E2-E3 pathway. Loss of neuronal Uba6 during embryonic development results in altered patterning of neurons in the hippocampus and the amygdala, decreased dendritic spine density, and numerous behavioral disorders. The levels of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Ube3a (E6-AP) and Shank3, both linked with dendritic spine function, are elevated in the amygdala of Uba6-deficient mice, while levels of the Ube3a substrate Arc are reduced. Uba6 and Use1 promote proteasomal turnover of Ube3a in mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and catalyze Ube3a ubiquitylation in vitro. These activities occur in parallel with an independent pathway involving Uba1-UbcH7, but in a spatially distinct manner in MEFs. These data reveal an unanticipated role for Uba6 in neuronal development, spine architecture, mouse behavior, and turnover of Ube3a.
PMCID: PMC3640669  PMID: 23499007
6.  SIRT4 has tumor suppressive activity and regulates the cellular metabolic response to DNA damage by inhibiting mitochondrial glutamine metabolism 
Cancer cell  2013;23(4):450-463.
DNA damage elicits a cellular signaling response that initiates cell cycle arrest and DNA repair. Here we find that DNA damage triggers a critical block in glutamine metabolism, which is required for proper DNA damage responses. This block requires the mitochondrial SIRT4, which is induced by numerous genotoxic agents and represses the metabolism of glutamine into TCA cycle. SIRT4 loss leads to both increased glutamine-dependent proliferation and stress-induced genomic instability, resulting in tumorigenic phenotypes. Moreover, SIRT4 knockout mice spontaneously develop lung tumors. Our data uncover SIRT4 as an important component of the DNA damage response pathway that orchestrates a metabolic block in glutamine metabolism, cell cycle arrest and tumor suppression.
PMCID: PMC3650305  PMID: 23562301
7.  Glutamine supports pancreatic cancer growth through a Kras-regulated metabolic pathway 
Nature  2013;496(7443):101-105.
Cancer cells exhibit metabolic dependencies that distinguish them from their normal counterparts1. Among these addictions is an increased utilization of the amino acid glutamine (Gln) to fuel anabolic processes2. Indeed, the spectrum of Gln-dependent tumors and the mechanisms whereby Gln supports cancer metabolism remain areas of active investigation. Here we report the identification of a non-canonical pathway of Gln utilization in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells that is required for tumor growth. While most cells utilize glutamate dehydrogenase (GLUD1) to convert Gln-derived glutamate (Glu) into α-ketoglutarate in the mitochondria to fuel the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, PDAC relies on a distinct pathway to fuel the TCA cycle such that Gln-derived aspartate is transported into the cytoplasm where it can be converted into oxaloacetate (OAA) by aspartate transaminase (GOT1). Subsequently, this OAA is converted into malate and then pyruvate, ostensibly increasing the NADPH/NADP+ ratio which can potentially maintain the cellular redox state. Importantly, PDAC cells are strongly dependent on this series of reactions, as Gln deprivation or genetic inhibition of any enzyme in this pathway leads to an increase in reactive oxygen species and a reduction in reduced glutathione. Moreover, knockdown of any component enzyme in this series of reactions also results in a pronounced suppression of PDAC growth in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we establish that the reprogramming of Gln metabolism is mediated by oncogenic Kras, the signature genetic alteration in PDAC, via the transcriptional upregulation and repression of key metabolic enzymes in this pathway. The essentiality of this pathway in PDAC and the fact that it is dispensable in normal cells may provide novel therapeutic approaches to treat these refractory tumors.
PMCID: PMC3656466  PMID: 23535601
8.  Acetylation-Dependent Regulation of Skp2 Function 
Cell  2012;150(1):179-193.
Aberrant Skp2 signaling has been implicated as a driving event in tumorigenesis. Although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive, cytoplasmic Skp2 correlates with more aggressive forms of breast and prostate cancers. Here, we report that Skp2 is acetylated by p300 at K68 and K71, which is a process that can be antagonized by the SIRT3 deacetylase. Inactivation of SIRT3 leads to elevated Skp2 acetylation, which leads to increased Skp2 stability through impairment of the Cdh1-mediated proteolysis pathway. As a result, Skp2 oncogenic function is increased, whereby cells expressing an acetylation-mimetic mutant display enhanced cellular proliferation and tumorigenesis in vivo. Moreover, acetylation of Skp2 in the nuclear localization signal (NLS) promotes its cytoplasmic retention, and cytoplasmic Skp2 enhances cellular migration through ubiquitination and destruction of E-cadherin. Thus, our study identifies an acetylation-dependent regulatory mechanism governing Skp2 oncogenic function and provides insight into how cytoplasmic Skp2 controls cellular migration.
PMCID: PMC3595190  PMID: 22770219
9.  SIRT3 is a Mitochondrial Tumor Suppressor: A Scientific Tale that Connects Aberrant Cellular ROS, the Warburg Effect, and Carcinogenesis 
Cancer Research  2012;72(10):2468-2472.
Tumors exhibit metabolic reprogramming characterized by increased cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the preferential use of glucose, as first published by Otto Warburg in 1956, referred to as the “Warburg effect.” However, the mechanism(s) linking these processes remain largely elusive. Murine tumors lacking Sirt3 exhibit abnormally high levels of ROS that directly induce genomic instability and increase HIF-1α protein levels. The subsequent transcription of HIFα-dependent target genes results in cellular metabolic reprogramming and increased cellular glucose consumption. In addition, agents that scavenge ROS or reverse the Warburg effect prevent the transformation and malignant phenotype observed in cells lacking Sirt3. Thus, mice lacking Sirt3 provide a model mechanistically connecting aberrant ROS, the Warburg effect, and carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3354726  PMID: 22589271
Sirt3; Warburg; Metabolism; Mitochondria; ROS; MnSOD; HIF-1α; Acetylation; Acetylome; Cancer; Metabolic Reprogramming
10.  Systemic elevation of PTEN induces a tumor suppressive metabolic state 
Cell  2012;149(1):49-62.
Decremental loss of PTEN results in cancer susceptibility and tumor progression. In turn this raises the possibility that PTEN elevation might be an attractive option for cancer prevention and therapy. We have generated several transgenic mouse lines with variably elevated PTEN expression levels, taking advantage of BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome)-mediated transgenesis. Super-PTEN mutants are viable and show reduced body size due to decreased cell number, with no effect on cell size. Unexpectedly, PTEN elevation at the organism level results in healthy metabolism characterized by increased energy expenditure and reduced body fat accumulation. Cells derived from these mice show reduced glucose and glutamine uptake, increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, and are resistant to oncogenic transformation. Mechanistically we find that PTEN elevation orchestrates this metabolic switch by regulating PI3K-dependent and independent pathways, and negatively impacts two of the most pronounced metabolic features of tumor cells: glutaminolysis and the Warburg effect.
PMCID: PMC3319228  PMID: 22401813
11.  Short-term calorie restriction enhances skeletal muscle stem cell function 
Cell stem cell  2012;10(5):515-519.
Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan and ameliorates age-related pathologies in most species studied; yet the mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. Using mouse skeletal muscle as a model, we show that CR acts in part by enhancing the function of tissue-specific stem cells. Even short-term CR significantly enhanced stem cell availability and activity in the muscle of young and old animals, in concert with an increase in mitochondrial abundance and induction of conserved metabolic and longevity regulators. Moreover, CR enhanced endogenous muscle repair and CR initiated in either donor or recipient animals improved the contribution of donor cells to regenerating muscle following transplant. These studies indicate that metabolic factors play a critical role in regulating stem cell function and that this regulation can influence the efficacy of recovery from injury and the engraftment of transplanted cells.
PMCID: PMC3561899  PMID: 22560075
12.  Exploiting cancer cell vulnerabilities to develop a combination therapy for Ras-driven tumors 
Cancer cell  2011;20(3):400-413.
Ras-driven tumors are often refractory to conventional therapies. Here we identify a promising targeted therapeutic strategy for two Ras-driven cancers: Nf1-deficient malignancies and KRas/p53-mutant lung cancer. We show that agents that enhance proteotoxic stress, including the HSP90 inhibitor IPI-504, induce tumor regression in aggressive mouse models, but only when combined with rapamycin. These agents synergize by promoting irresolvable ER stress, resulting in catastrophic ER and mitochondrial damage. This process is fueled by oxidative stress, which is caused by IPI-504-dependent production of reactive oxygen species, and the rapamycin-dependent suppression of glutathione, an important endogenous antioxidant. Notably, the mechanism by which these agents cooperate reveals a therapeutic paradigm that can be expanded to develop additional combinations.
PMCID: PMC3233475  PMID: 21907929
13.  A metabolic prosurvival role for PML in breast cancer  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(9):3088-3100.
Cancer cells exhibit an aberrant metabolism that facilitates more efficient production of biomass and hence tumor growth and progression. However, the genetic cues modulating this metabolic switch remain largely undetermined. We identified a metabolic function for the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) gene, uncovering an unexpected role for this bona fide tumor suppressor in breast cancer cell survival. We found that PML acted as both a negative regulator of PPARγ coactivator 1A (PGC1A) acetylation and a potent activator of PPAR signaling and fatty acid oxidation. We further showed that PML promoted ATP production and inhibited anoikis. Importantly, PML expression allowed luminal filling in 3D basement membrane breast culture models, an effect that was reverted by the pharmacological inhibition of fatty acid oxidation. Additionally, immunohistochemical analysis of breast cancer biopsies revealed that PML was overexpressed in a subset of breast cancers and enriched in triple-negative cases. Indeed, PML expression in breast cancer correlated strikingly with reduced time to recurrence, a gene signature of poor prognosis, and activated PPAR signaling. These findings have important therapeutic implications, as PML and its key role in fatty acid oxidation metabolism are amenable to pharmacological suppression, a potential future mode of cancer prevention and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3433768  PMID: 22886304
14.  The role of SIRT3 in regulating cancer cell metabolism 
BMC Proceedings  2012;6(Suppl 3):P18.
PMCID: PMC3374218
15.  Cellular metabolic response to DNA damage 
BMC Proceedings  2012;6(Suppl 3):P24.
PMCID: PMC3374224
19.  Regulation of metabolism by sirtuins 
BMC Proceedings  2012;6(Suppl 3):O9.
PMCID: PMC3395046
20.  SIRT3 opposes reprogramming of cancer cell metabolism through HIF1α destabilization 
Cancer cell  2011;19(3):416-428.
Tumor cells exhibit aberrant metabolism characterized by high glycolysis even in the presence of oxygen. This metabolic reprogramming, known as the Warburg effect, provides tumor cells with the substrates required for biomass generation. Here, we show that the mitochondrial NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT3 is a crucial regulator of the Warburg effect. Mechanistically, SIRT3 mediates metabolic reprogramming by destabilizing hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α), a transcription factor that controls glycolytic gene expression. SIRT3 loss increases reactive oxygen species production, leading to HIF1α stabilization. SIRT3 expression is reduced in human breast cancers, and its loss correlates with the upregulation of HIF1α target genes. Finally, we find that SIRT3 overexpression represses glycolysis and proliferation in breast cancer cells, providing a metabolic mechanism for tumor suppression.
PMCID: PMC3065720  PMID: 21397863
21.  Sirtuin Regulation of Mitochondria - Energy Production, Apoptosis, and Signaling 
Trends in biochemical sciences  2010;35(12):669-675.
Sirtuins are a highly conserved family of proteins whose activity can extend lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, worms, and flies. Mammals contain seven sirtuins (SIRT1-7) that modulate distinct metabolic and stress response pathways. Three sirtuins, SIRT3, SIRT4 and SIRT5, are located in the mitochondrion, a dynamic organelle that functions as the primary site of oxidative metabolism and plays critical roles in apoptosis and intracellular signaling. Recent findings have shed light on how the mitochondrial sirtuins function in the control of basic mitochondrial biology, including energy production, metabolism, apoptosis, and intracellular signaling.
PMCID: PMC2992946  PMID: 20863707
22.  The Aging Stress Response 
Molecular cell  2010;40(2):333-344.
Aging is the outcome of a balance between damage and repair. The rate of aging and the appearance of age-related pathology are modulated by stress response and repair pathways that gradually decline, including the proteostasis and DNA damage repair networks and mitochondrial respiratory metabolism. Highly conserved insulin/IGF-1, TOR, and sirtuin signaling pathways in turn, control these critical cellular responses. The coordinated action of these signaling pathways maintains cellular and organismal homeostasis in the face of external perturbations, such as changes in nutrient availability, temperature and oxygen level, as well as internal perturbations, such as protein misfolding and DNA damage. Studies in model organisms suggest that changes in signaling can augment these critical stress response systems, increasing lifespan and reducing age-related pathology. The systems biology of stress response signaling thus provides a new approach to the understanding and potential treatment of age-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC2987618  PMID: 20965426
aging; DNA damage; mitochondria; stress response; proteostasis; autophagy; insulin; TOR; sirtuin
23.  Succinate Dehydrogenase Is a Direct Target of Sirtuin 3 Deacetylase Activity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23295.
Sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are a family of NAD-dependent deacetylases and/or ADP-ribosyltransferases that are involved in metabolism, stress responses and longevity. SIRT3 is localized to mitochondria, where it deacetylates and activates a number of enzymes involved in fuel oxidation and energy production.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we performed a proteomic screen to identify SIRT3 interacting proteins and identified several subunits of complex II and V of the electron transport chain. Two subunits of complex II (also known as succinate dehydrogenase, or SDH), SDHA and SDHB, interacted specifically with SIRT3. Using mass spectrometry, we identified 13 acetylation sites on SDHA, including six novel acetylated residues. SDHA is hyperacetylated in SIRT3 KO mice and SIRT3 directly deacetylates SDHA in a NAD-dependent manner. Finally, we found that SIRT3 regulates SDH activity both in cells and in murine brown adipose tissue.
Our study identifies SDHA as a binding partner and substrate for SIRT3 deacetylase activity. SIRT3 loss results in decreased SDH enzyme activity, suggesting that SIRT3 may be an important physiological regulator of SDH activity.
PMCID: PMC3157345  PMID: 21858060
24.  Mammalian Sirtuins: Biological Insights and Disease Relevance 
Annual review of pathology  2010;5:253-295.
Aging is accompanied by a decline in the healthy function of multiple organ systems, leading to increased incidence and mortality from diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Historically, researchers have focused on investigating individual pathways in isolated organs as a strategy to identify the root cause of a disease, with hopes of designing better drugs. Studies of aging in yeast led to the discovery of a family of conserved enzymes known as the sirtuins, which affect multiple pathways that increase the life span and the overall health of organisms. Since the discovery of the first known mammalian sirtuin, SIRT1, 10 years ago, there have been major advances in our understanding of the enzymology of sirtuins, their regulation, and their ability to broadly improve mammalian physiology and health span. This review summarizes and discusses the advances of the past decade and the challenges that will confront the field in the coming years.
PMCID: PMC2866163  PMID: 20078221
chromatin; metabolism; deacetylase; cancer; cardiovascular; inflammation
25.  SIRT5 Deacetylates Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthetase 1 and Regulates the Urea Cycle 
Cell  2009;137(3):560-570.
Sirtuins are NAD-dependent protein deacetylases that connect metabolism and aging. In mammals, there are seven sirtuins (SIRT1-7), three of which are associated with mitochondria. Here we show that SIRT5 localizes in the mitochondrial matrix and interacts with carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1), an enzyme, catalyzing the initial step of the urea cycle for ammonia detoxification and disposal. SIRT5 deacetylates CPS1 and up-regulates its activity. During fasting, NAD in liver mitochondria increases, thereby triggering SIRT5 deacetylation of CPS1 and adaptation to the increase in amino acid catabolism. Indeed, SIRT5 KO mice fail to up-regulate CPS1 activity and show elevated blood ammonia during fasting. Similar effects occur during long-term calorie restriction or a high protein diet. These findings demonstrate SIRT5 plays a pivotal role in ammonia detoxification and disposal by activating CPS1.
PMCID: PMC2698666  PMID: 19410549

Results 1-25 (30)