Sirtuins: the 'magnificent seven', function, metabolism and longevity

The sirtuin family of histone deacetylases (HDACs) was named after their homology to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene silent information regulator 2 (Sir2). In the yeast, Sir2 has been shown to mediate the effects of calorie restriction on the extension of life span and high levels of Sir2 activity promote longevity. Like their yeast homologs, the mammalian sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are class III HDACs and require NAD(+) as a cofactor to deacetylate substrates ranging from histones to transcriptional regulators. Through this activity, sirtuins are shown to regulate important biological processes ranging from apoptosis, adipocyte and muscle differentiation, and energy expenditure to gluconeogenesis. We review here the current knowledge regarding the role of sirtuins in metabolism, longevity, and discuss the possible therapeutic applications that could result from the understanding of their function in different organs and pathologies.


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