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Sirtuins in Aging and Disease


Sirtuins in Aging and Disease

L Guarente. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol.


Sirtuin genes function as anti-aging genes in yeast, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Drosophila. The NAD requirement for sirtuin function indicates a link between aging and metabolism, and a boost in sirtuin activity may in part explain how calorie restriction extends life span. In mammals, one of the substrates of the SIR2 ortholog, SIRT1, is a regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, PGC-1alpha. Indeed, the putative SIRT1 activator resveratrol has been shown to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis and deliver health benefits in treated mice. I explore here how mitochondrial biogenesis may have beneficial effects on aging and, perhaps, diseases of aging. In particular, I speculate that SIRT1-mediated mitochondrial biogenesis may reduce the production of reactive oxygen species, a possible cause of aging, and offer two possible mechanisms for this effect. An understanding of how calorie restriction works may lead to novel drugs to combat diseases of aging.

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