SIRT1 is a NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase that has a very large number of established protein substrates and an equally impressive list of biological functions thought to be regulated by its activity. Perhaps as notable is the remarkable number of points of conflict concerning the role of SIRT1 in biological processes. For example, evidence exists suggesting that SIRT1 is a tumor suppressor, is an oncogene, or has no effect on oncogenesis. Similarly, SIRT1 is variably reported to induce, inhibit, or have no effect on autophagy. We believe that the resolution of many conflicting results is possible by considering recent reports indicating that SIRT1 is an important hub interacting with a complex network of proteins that collectively regulate a wide variety of biological processes including cancer and autophagy. A number of the interacting proteins are themselves hubs that, like SIRT1, utilize intrinsically disordered regions for their promiscuous interactions. Many studies investigating SIRT1 function have been carried out on cell lines carrying undetermined numbers of alterations to the proteins comprising the SIRT1 network or on inbred mouse strains carrying fixed mutations affecting some of these proteins. Thus, the effects of modulating SIRT1 amount and/or activity are importantly determined by the genetic background of the cell (or the inbred strain of mice), and the effects attributed to SIRT1 are synthetic with the background of mutations and epigenetic differences between cells and organisms. Work on mice carrying alterations to the Sirt1 gene suggests that the network in which SIRT1 functions plays an important role in mediating physiological adaptation to various sources of chronic stress such as calorie restriction and calorie overload. Whether the catalytic activity of SIRT1 and the nuclear concentration of the co-factor, NAD+, are responsible for modulating this activity remains to be determined. However, the effect of modulating SIRT1 activity must be interpreted in the context of the cell or tissue under investigation. Indeed, for SIRT1, we argue that context is everything.
scale-free network; protein deacetylation; nutritional stress; oncogenesis
We previously demonstrated that Sirt1 regulates apoptosis in cartilage in vitro. Here we attempt to examine in vivo cartilage homeostasis, using Sirt1 total body knockout (KO) mice.
Articular cartilage was harvested from hind paws of 1-week and 3-week-old mice carrying wild type (WT) or null Sirt1 gene. Knees of Sirt1 haploinsufficient mice also were examined, at 6 months. Joint cartilage was processed for histologic examination or biochemical analyses of chondrocyte cultures.
We found that articular cartilage tissue sections from Sirt1 KO mice up to 3 weeks of age exhibited low levels of type 2 collagen, aggrecan, and glycosaminoglycan content. In contrast, protein levels of MMP-13 were elevated in the Sirt1 KO mice, leading to a potential increase of cartilage breakdown, already shown in the heterozygous mice. Additional results showed elevated chondrocyte apoptosis in Sirt1 KO mice, as compared to WT controls. In addition to these observations, PTP1b (protein tyrosine phosphatase b) was elevated in the Sirt1 KO mice, in line with previous reports.
The findings from this animal model demonstrated that Sirt1 KO mice presented an altered cartilage phenotype, with an elevated apoptotic process and a potential degradative cartilage process.
Sirtuin 1; Cartilage; Osteoarthritis; Animal models
The protein deacetylase SIRT1 is involved in the regulation of a large number of cellular processes that are thought to be required for cancer initiation and progression. Both SIRT1 activity and tumorigenesis can be influenced by dietary fat and polyphenolics. We set out to determine whether dietary modulations of tumorigenesis are mediated by SIRT1 catalytic functions. We introduced a mammary gland tumor-inducing transgene, MMTV-PyMT, into stocks of mice bearing a H355Y point mutation in the Sirt1 gene that abolishes SIRT1 catalytic activity. Tumor latency was reduced in animals fed a high fat diet but this effect was not dependent on SIRT1 activity. Resveratrol had little effect on tumor formation except in animals heterozygous for the mutant Sirt1 gene. We conclude that the effects of these dietary interventions on tumorigenesis are not mediated by modulation of SIRT1 catalytic activity.
We and others previously demonstrated that sirtuin 1 (SIRT-1) regulates apoptosis and cartilage-specific gene expression in human chondrocytes and mouse models. This study was undertaken to determine if SIRT-1 enzymatic activity plays a protective role in cartilage homeostasis in vivo, by investigating mice with SIRT-1 mutations to characterize their cartilage.
Articular cartilage was harvested from the paws and knees of 5- and 6-month-old wild-type (WT) mice and mice homozygous for SIRT-1tm2.1Mcby (SIRT-1y/y), an allele carrying a point mutation that encodes a SIRT-1 protein with no enzymatic activity (y/y mice). Mice ages 2 days old and 6–7 days old were also examined. Mouse joint cartilage was processed for histologic examination or biochemical analyses of chondrocyte cultures.
We found that articular cartilage tissue sections from y/y mice of up to 6 months of age contained reduced levels of type II collagen, aggrecan, and glycosaminoglycan compared to sections from WT mice. In contrast, protein levels of matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8), MMP-9, and MMP-13 were elevated in the cartilage of y/y mice. In addition, chondrocyte apoptosis was elevated in SIRT-1 mutant mice as compared to their WT littermates. Consistent with these observations, protein tyrosine phosphatase 1b was elevated in the y/y mice.
Our in vivo findings in this animal model demonstrate that mice with defective SIRT-1 also have defective cartilage, with elevated rates of cartilage degradation with age. Hence, normal cartilage homeostasis requires enzymatically active SIRT-1 protein.
The SIRT1 deacetylase is one of the best-studied putative mediators of some of the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction (CR), but its role in CR-dependent lifespan extension has not been demonstrated. We previously found that mice lacking both copies of SIRT1 displayed a shorter median lifespan than wild-type mice on an ad libitum diet. Here, we report that median lifespan extension in CR heterozygote SIRT1+/− mice was identical (51%) to that observed in wild-type mice, but SIRT1+/− mice displayed a higher frequency of certain pathologies. Although larger studies in additional genetic backgrounds are needed, these results provide strong initial evidence for the requirement of SIRT1 for the lifespan extension effects of CR, but suggest that its high expression is not required for CR-induced lifespan extension.
anti-aging; caloric restriction; lifespan; SIRT1
The protein deacetylase SIRT1 has been implicated in the regulation of a large number of cellular processes that are thought to be required for cancer initiation and progression. There are conflicting data that make it unclear whether Sirt1 functions as an oncogene or tumor suppressor. To assess the effect of SIRT1 on the emergence and progression of mammary tumors, we crossed mice that harbor a point mutation that abolishes SIRT1 catalytic activity with mice carrying the polyoma middle T transgene driven by the murine mammary tumor virus promoter (MMTV-PyMT). The absence of SIRT1 catalytic activity neither accelerated nor blocked the formation of tumors and metastases in this model. There was a lag in tumor latency that modestly extended survival in Sirt1 mutant mice that we attribute to a delay in mammary gland development and not to a direct effect of SIRT1 on carcinogenesis. These results are consistent with previous evidence suggesting that Sirt1 is not a tumor promoter or a tumor suppressor.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune-mediated β cell destruction leading to insulin deficiency. The histone deacetylase SIRT1 plays an essential role in modulating several age-related diseases. Here we describe a family carrying a mutation in the SIRT1 gene, in which all five affected members developed an autoimmune disorder: four developed type 1 diabetes, and one developed ulcerative colitis. Initially, a 26-year-old man was diagnosed with the typical features of type 1 diabetes, including lean body mass, autoantibodies, T cell reactivity to β cell antigens, and a rapid dependence on insulin. Direct and exome sequencing identified the presence of a T-to-C exchange in exon 1 of SIRT1, corresponding to a leucine-to-proline mutation at residue 107. Expression of SIRT1-L107P in insulin-producing cells resulted in overproduction of nitric oxide, cytokines, and chemokines. These observations identify a role for SIRT1 in human autoimmunity and unveil a monogenic form of type 1 diabetes.
WldS (Wallerian degeneration slow), a fusion protein from a spontaneous mutation containing full-length nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 1, has NAD biosynthesis activity and protects axon from degeneration robustly. NAD biosynthesis is also implicated in insulin secretion in β-cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of WldS on β-cells and glucose homeostasis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using the WldS mice, we measured the expression of WldS in pancreas and analyzed the effect of WldS on glucose homeostasis. The direct effect of WldS on insulin transcription and secretion and the related mechanisms was measured in isolated islets or β-cell lines. Silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1), an NAD-dependent protein deacetylase, is involved in insulin secretion. Thus, WldS mice with SIRT1 deficiency were generated to study whether the SIRT1-dependent pathway is involved.
WldS is highly expressed in the pancreas and improves glucose homeostasis. WldS mice are resistant to high-fat diet–induced glucose intolerance and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced hyperglycemia. WldS increases insulin transcription dependent on its NAD biosynthesis activity and enhances insulin secretion. SIRT1 is required for the improved insulin transcription, secretion, and resistance to STZ-induced hyperglycemia caused by WldS. Moreover, WldS associates with SIRT1 and increases NAD levels in the pancreas, causing the enhanced SIRT1 activity to downregulate uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) expression and upregulate ATP levels.
Our results demonstrate that WldS combines an insulinotropic effect with protection against β-cell failure and suggest that enhancing NAD biosynthesis in β-cells to increase SIRT1 activity could be a potential therapeutic approach for diabetes.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema (COPD/emphysema) is characterized by chronic inflammation and premature lung aging. Anti-aging sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a NAD+-dependent protein/histone deacetylase, is reduced in lungs of patients with COPD. However, the molecular signals underlying the premature aging in lungs, and whether SIRT1 protects against cellular senescence and various pathophysiological alterations in emphysema, remain unknown. Here, we showed increased cellular senescence in lungs of COPD patients. SIRT1 activation by both genetic overexpression and a selective pharmacological activator, SRT1720, attenuated stress-induced premature cellular senescence and protected against emphysema induced by cigarette smoke and elastase in mice. Ablation of Sirt1 in airway epithelium, but not in myeloid cells, aggravated airspace enlargement, impaired lung function, and reduced exercise tolerance. These effects were due to the ability of SIRT1 to deacetylate the FOXO3 transcription factor, since Foxo3 deficiency diminished the protective effect of SRT1720 on cellular senescence and emphysematous changes. Inhibition of lung inflammation by an NF-κB/IKK2 inhibitor did not have any beneficial effect on emphysema. Thus, SIRT1 protects against emphysema through FOXO3-mediated reduction of cellular senescence, independently of inflammation. Activation of SIRT1 may be an attractive therapeutic strategy in COPD/emphysema.
The Sirtuin family of proteins (SIRTs) encode a group of evolutionarily conserved, NAD-dependent histone deacetylases, involved in many biological pathways. SIRT1, the human homolog of the yeast Silent Information Regulator 2 (Sir2) gene, deacetylates histones, p300, p53, and the androgen receptor. Autophagy is required for the degradation of damaged organelles and long-lived proteins, as well as for the development of glands such as the breast and prostate. Herein, homozygous deletion of the Sirt1 gene in mice resulted in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) associated with reduced autophagy. Genome-wide gene expression analysis of Sirt1-/- prostates demonstrated that endogenous Sirt1 repressed androgen responsive gene expression and induced autophagy in the prostate. Sirt1 induction of autophagy occurred at the level of autophagosome maturation and completion in cultured prostate cancer cells. These studies provide novel evidence for a checkpoint function of Sirt1 in the development of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and further highlight a role for SIRT1 as a tumor suppressor in the prostate.
SIRT1; Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN); Prostate; Autophagy; Tumor Suppressor
Wake neurons in the basal forebrain and brainstem provide critical inputs to optimize alertness and attention. These neurons, however, evidence heightened vulnerability to a diverse array of metabolic challenges, including aging. SIRT1 is an NAD+ responsive deacetylase serving diverse adaptive responses to metabolic challenges. Yet, this metabolic rheostat may be down-regulated under conditions of significant oxidative stress. We hypothesized that SIRT1 might serve as a critical neuroprotectant for wake neurons in young animals, but that this protectant would be lost upon aging, rendering the neurons more vulnerable to metabolic insults. In this collection of studies we first established the presence of nuclear SIRT1 in wake neurons throughout the forebrain and brainstem. Supporting functional and behavioral roles for SIRT1 in wake-active neurons, transgenic whole animal and conditional loss of brain SIRT1 in the adult mouse impart selective impairments in wakefulness, without disrupting non-rapid-eye movement or rapid-eye-movement sleep. Populations of wake neurons, including the orexinergic, locus coeruleus (LC), mesopontine cholinergic and dopaminergic wake neurons, evidence loss of dendrites and neurotransmitter synthesis enzymes, and develop accelerated accumulation of lipofuscin, consistent with a senescence-like phenotype in wake neurons. Normal aging results in a progressive loss of SIRT1 in wake-active neurons, temporally coinciding with lipofuscin accumulation. SIRT1 is a critical age-sensitive neuroprotectant for wake neurons, and its deficiency results in impaired wakefulness.
Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process that eliminates long-lived proteins and damaged organelles through lysosomal degradation pathway. Cigarette smoke (CS)-mediated oxidative stress induces cytotoxic responses in lung cells. However, the role of autophagy and its mechanism in CS-mediated cytotoxic responses is not known. We hypothesized that NAD+-dependent deacetylase, sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) plays an important role in regulating autophagy in response to CS. CS exposure resulted in induction of autophagy in lung epithelial cells, fibroblasts and macrophages. Pretreatment of cells with SIRT1 activator resveratrol attenuated CS-induced autophagy whereas the SIRT1 inhibitor, sirtinol, augmented CS-induced autophagy. Elevated levels of autophagy were induced by CS in the lungs of SIRT1 deficient mice. Inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose)-polymerase-1 (PARP-1) attenuated CS-induced autophagy via SIRT1 activation. These data suggest that the SIRT1-PARP-1 axis plays a critical role in the regulation of CS-induced autophagy and have important implications in understanding the mechanisms of CS-induced cell death and senescence.
SIRT1; PARP-1; resveratrol; cigarette smoke; autophagy
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound that is found in grapes and red wine, increases metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial biogenesis, and physical endurance and reduces fat accumulation in mice. Although it is thought that resveratrol targets Sirt1, this is controversial because resveratrol also activates 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which also regulates insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial biogenesis. Here, we use mice deficient in AMPKα1 or -α2 to determine whether the metabolic effects of resveratrol are mediated by AMPK.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Mice deficient in the catalytic subunit of AMPK (α1 or α2) and wild-type mice were fed a high-fat diet or high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol for 13 weeks. Body weight was recorded biweekly and metabolic parameters were measured. We also used mouse embryonic fibroblasts deficient in AMPK to study the role of AMPK in resveratrol-mediated effects in vitro.
Resveratrol increased the metabolic rate and reduced fat mass in wild-type mice but not in AMPKα1−/− mice. In the absence of either AMPKα1 or -α2, resveratrol failed to increase insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, mitochondrial biogenesis, and physical endurance. Consistent with this, the expression of genes important for mitochondrial biogenesis was not induced by resveratrol in AMPK-deficient mice. In addition, resveratrol increased the NAD-to-NADH ratio in an AMPK-dependent manner, which may explain how resveratrol may activate Sirt1 indirectly.
We conclude that AMPK, which was thought to be an off-target hit of resveratrol, is the central target for the metabolic effects of resveratrol.
Conservation of normal cognitive functions relies on the proper performance of the nervous system at the cellular and molecular level. The mammalian NAD+-dependent deacetylase, SIRT1, impacts different processes potentially involved in the maintenance of brain integrity such as chromatin remodeling, DNA repair, cell survival and neurogenesis. Here we show that SIRT1 is expressed in neurons of the hippocampus, a key structure in learning and memory. Using a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological paradigms we analyzed the effects of SIRT1 deficiency and overexpression on mouse learning and memory as well as on synaptic plasticity. We demonstrated that the absence of SIRT1 impaired cognitive abilities, including immediate memory, classical conditioning and spatial learning. In addition, we found that the cognitive deficits in SIRT1 knockout mice were associated with defects in synaptic plasticity without alterations in basal synaptic transmission or NMDA receptor function. Brains of SIRT1-KO mice exhibited normal morphology and dendritic spine structure but display a decrease in dendritic branching, branch length and complexity of neuronal dendritic arbors. Also, a decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation and altered expression of hippocampal genes involved in synaptic function, lipid metabolism and myelination were detected in SIRT1-KO mice. In contrast, mice with high levels of SIRT1 expression in brain exhibited regular synaptic plasticity and memory. We conclude that SIRT1 is indispensable for normal learning, memory and synaptic plasticity in mice.
SIRT1; LTP; learning; memory; synaptic plasticity and cognition
SIRT1, a NAD-dependent deacetylase, has diverse roles in a variety of organs such as regulation of endocrine function and metabolism. However, it remains to be addressed how it regulates hormone release there.
Here, we report that SIRT1 is abundantly expressed in pituitary thyrotropes and regulates thyroid hormone secretion. Manipulation of SIRT1 level revealed that SIRT1 positively regulated the exocytosis of TSH-containing granules. Using LC/MS-based interactomics, phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP5K)γ was identified as a SIRT1 binding partner and deacetylation substrate. SIRT1 deacetylated two specific lysine residues (K265/K268) in PIP5Kγ and enhanced PIP5Kγ enzyme activity. SIRT1-mediated TSH secretion was abolished by PIP5Kγ knockdown. SIRT1 knockdown decreased the levels of deacetylated PIP5Kγ, PI(4,5)P2, and reduced the secretion of TSH from pituitary cells. These results were also observed in SIRT1-knockout mice.
Our findings indicated that the control of TSH release by the SIRT1-PIP5Kγ pathway is important for regulating the metabolism of the whole body.
Endothelial activation, macrophage infiltration, and foam cell formation are pivotal steps in atherogenesis. Our aim in this study was to analyse the role of SIRT1, a class III deacetylase with important metabolic functions, in plaque macrophages and atherogenesis.
Methods and results
Using partial SIRT1 deletion in atherosclerotic mice, we demonstrate that SIRT1 protects against atherosclerosis by reducing macrophage foam cell formation. Peritoneal macrophages from heterozygous SIRT1 mice accumulate more oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), thereby promoting foam cell formation. Bone marrow-restricted SIRT1 deletion confirmed that SIRT1 function in macrophages is sufficient to decrease atherogenesis. Moreover, we show that SIRT1 reduces the uptake of oxLDL by diminishing the expression of lectin-like oxLDL receptor-1 (Lox-1) via suppression of the NF-κB signalling pathway.
Our findings demonstrate protective effects of SIRT1 in atherogenesis and suggest pharmacological SIRT1 activation as a novel anti-atherosclerotic strategy by reducing macrophage foam cell formation.
SIRT1; Macrophage foam cell; Atherogenesis
Sirtuins have been shown to protect cells and delay aging, but our laboratory showed that S. cerevisiae Sir2 can also increase stress sensitivity and limit life span extension. Here we provide evidence for a role of the mammalian Sir2 ortholog SirT1 in the activation of a pathway that sensitizes neurons to oxidative damage. SirT1-inhibition increased acetylation and decreased phosphorylation of IRS-2, reduced Ras activation and reduced ERK1/2 phosphorylation suggesting that SirT1 may enhance IGF-I signaling in part by deacetylating IRS-2. Either of the inhibition of SirT1 or of Ras/ERK1/2 were associated with resistance to oxidative damage. Although both markers of oxidized proteins and lipids were reduced in the brain of old SirT1 deficient mice, the life span of the homozygote knock out mice was shorter under both normal and calorie restricted conditions. These results are consistent with findings in S. cerevisiae and other model organisms suggesting that mammalian sirtuins can play both protective and pro-aging roles.
Calorie restriction extends lifespan in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals1. In yeast, the SIR2 gene mediates the life-extending effects of calorie restriction2. Here we show that the mammalian SIR2 orthologue, Sirt1 (sirtuin 1), activates a critical component of calorie restriction in mammals; that is, fat mobilization in white adipocytes. Upon food withdrawal Sirt1 protein binds to and represses genes controlled by the fat regulator PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ), including genes mediating fat storage. Sirt1 represses PPAR-γ by docking with its cofactors NCoR (nuclear receptor co-repressor) and SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptors). Mobilization of fatty acids from white adipocytes upon fasting is compromised in Sirt1+/− mice. Repression of PPAR-γ by Sirt1 is also evident in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, where overexpression of Sirt1 attenuates adipogenesis, and RNA interference of Sirt1 enhances it. In differentiated fat cells, upregulation of Sirt1 triggers lipolysis and loss of fat. As a reduction in fat is sufficient to extend murine lifespan3, our results provide a possible molecular pathway connecting calorie restriction to life extension in mammals.
Although many self-reactive T cells are eliminated by negative selection in the thymus, some of these cells escape into the periphery, where they must be controlled by additional mechanisms. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying peripheral T cell tolerance and its maintenance remain largely undefined. In this study, we report that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a type III histone deacetylase, negatively regulates T cell activation and plays a major role in clonal T cell anergy in mice. In vivo, we found that loss of Sirt1 function resulted in abnormally increased T cell activation and a breakdown of CD4+ T cell tolerance. Conversely, upregulation of Sirt1 expression led to T cell anergy, in which the activity of the transcription factor AP-1 was substantially diminished. Furthermore, Sirt1 interacted with and deacetylated c-Jun, yielding an inactive AP-1 factor. In addition, Sirt1-deficient mice were unable to maintain T cell tolerance and developed severe experimental allergic encephalomyelitis as well as spontaneous autoimmunity. These findings provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and anergy, and we suggest that activators of Sirt1 may be useful as therapeutic agents for the treatment and/or prevention of autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms of T-cell hyperactivation shape the course and outcome of HIV-1 infection, but the mechanism(s) underlying this chronic immune activation are not well understood. We find that the viral transactivator Tat promotes hyperactivation of T cells by blocking the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1. Tat directly interacts with the deacetylase domain of SIRT1 and blocks the ability of SIRT1 to deacetylate lysine 310 in the p65 subunit of NF-κB. Because acetylated p65 is more active as a transcription factor, Tat hyperactivates the expression of NF-κB-responsive genes, a function lost in SIRT1−/− cells. These results support a model where the normal function of SIRT1 as a negative regulator of T-cell activation is suppressed by Tat during HIV infection. These events likely contribute to the state of immune cell hyperactivation found in HIV-infected individuals.
It is intuitive to speculate that nutrient availability may influence differentiation of mammalian cells. Nonetheless, a comprehensive complement of the molecular determinants involved in this process has not been elucidated yet. Here, we have investigated how nutrients (glucose) affect skeletal myogenesis. Glucose restriction (GR) impaired differentiation of skeletal myoblasts and was associated with activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Activated AMPK was required to promote GR-induced transcription of the NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme Nampt. Indeed, GR augmented the Nampt activity, which consequently modified the intracellular [NAD+]/[NADH] ratio and nicotinamide levels, and mediated inhibition of skeletal myogenesis. Skeletal myoblasts derived from SIRT1+/− heterozygous mice were resistant to the effects of either GR or AMPK activation. These experiments reveal that AMPK, Nampt, and SIRT1 are the molecular components of a functional signaling pathway that allows skeletal muscle cells to sense and react to nutrient availability.
The yeast sir2 gene and its orthologues in Drosophila and C. elegans have well-established roles in lifespan determination and response to caloric restriction. We have studied mice carrying two null alleles for SirT1, the mammalian orthologue of sir2, and found that these animals inefficiently utilize ingested food. These mice are hypermetabolic, contain inefficient liver mitochondria, and have elevated rates of lipid oxidation. When challenged with a 40% reduction in caloric intake, normal mice maintained their metabolic rate and increased their physical activity while the metabolic rate of SirT1-null mice dropped and their activity did not increase. Moreover, CR did not extend lifespan of SirT1-null mice. Thus, SirT1 is an important regulator of energy metabolism and, like its orthologues from simpler eukaryotes, the SirT1 protein appears to be required for a normal response to caloric restriction.
Axon degeneration occurs frequently in neurodegenerative diseases and peripheral neuropathies. Important insight into the mechanisms of axon degeneration arose from findings that the degeneration of transected axons is delayed in Wallerian degeneration slow (Wlds) mice with the overexpression of a fusion protein with the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) synthetic enzyme, nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase (Nmnat1). Although both Wlds and Nmnat1 themselves are functional in preventing axon degeneration in neuronal cultures, the underlying mechanism for Nmnat1- and NAD-mediated axon protection remains largely unclear. We demonstrate that NAD levels decrease in degenerating axons and that preventing this axonal NAD decline efficiently protects axons from degeneration. In support of a local protective mechanism, we show that the degeneration of axonal segments that have been separated from their soma could be prevented by the exogenous application of NAD or its precursor nicotinamide. Furthermore, we provide evidence that such Nmnat1/NAD-mediated protection is primarily mediated by their effects on local bioenergetics. Together, our results suggest a novel molecular pathway for axon degeneration.
The yeast Sir2p protein has an essential role in maintaining telomeric and mating type genes in their transcriptionally inactive state. Mammalian cells have a very large proportion of their genome inactive and also contain seven genes that have regions of homology with the yeast sir2 gene. One of these mammalian genes, sir2α, is the presumptive mammalian homologue of the yeast sir2 gene. We set out to determine if sir2α plays a role in mammalian gene silencing by creating a strain of mice carrying a null allele of sir2α. Animals carrying two null alleles of sir2α were smaller than normal at birth, and most died during the early postnatal period. In an outbred background, the sir2α null animals often survived to adulthood, but both sexes were sterile. We found no evidence for failure of gene silencing in sir2α null animals, suggesting that either SIR2α has a different role in mammals than it does in Saccharomyces cerevisiae or that its role in gene silencing in confined to a small subset of mammalian genes. The phenotype of the sir2α null animals suggests that the SIR2α protein is essential for normal embryogenesis and for normal reproduction in both sexes.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Tat protein is acetylated by the transcriptional coactivator p300, a necessary step in Tat-mediated transactivation. We report here that Tat is deacetylated by human sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent class III protein deacetylase in vitro and in vivo. Tat and SIRT1 coimmunoprecipitate and synergistically activate the HIV promoter. Conversely, knockdown of SIRT1 via small interfering RNAs or treatment with a novel small molecule inhibitor of the SIRT1 deacetylase activity inhibit Tat-mediated transactivation of the HIV long terminal repeat. Tat transactivation is defective in SIRT1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts and can be rescued by expression of SIRT1. These results support a model in which cycles of Tat acetylation and deacetylation regulate HIV transcription. SIRT1 recycles Tat to its unacetylated form and acts as a transcriptional coactivator during Tat transactivation.
Cycles of Tat acetylation and deacetylation, mediated by human sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), regulate HIV transcription suggesting that SIRT1 could be a therapeutic target