NAD(+)-dependent Class III histone deacetylase SIRT1 is a multiple function protein critically involved in stress responses, cellular metabolism and aging through deacetylating a variety of substrates including p53, forkhead-box transcription factors, PGC-1alpha, NF-kappaB, Ku70 and histones. The first discovered non-histone target of SIRT1, p53, is suggested to play a central role in SIRT1-mediated functions in tumorigenesis and senescence. SIRT1 was originally considered to be a potential tumor promoter since it negatively regulates the tumor suppressor p53 and other tumor suppressors. There is new evidence that SIRT1 acts as a tumor suppressor based on its role in negatively regulating beta-catenin and survivin. This review provides an overview of current knowledge of SIRT1-p53 signaling and controversies regarding the functions of SIRT1 in tumorigenesis.
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