Hepatic Sirt1 deficiency in mice impairs mTorc2/Akt signaling and results in hyperglycemia, oxidative damage, and insulin resistance

J Clin Invest. 2011 Nov;121(11):4477-90. doi: 10.1172/JCI46243. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. The protein encoded by the sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) gene, which is a mouse homolog of yeast Sir2, is implicated in the regulation of glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity; however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, using mice with a liver-specific null mutation of Sirt1, we have identified a signaling pathway involving Sirt1, Rictor (a component of mTOR complex 2 [mTorc2]), Akt, and Foxo1 that regulates gluconeogenesis. We found that Sirt1 positively regulates transcription of the gene encoding Rictor, triggering a cascade of phosphorylation of Akt at S473 and Foxo1 at S253 and resulting in decreased transcription of the gluconeogenic genes glucose-6-phosphatase (G6pase) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pepck). Liver-specific Sirt1 deficiency caused hepatic glucose overproduction, chronic hyperglycemia, and increased ROS production. This oxidative stress disrupted mTorc2 and impaired mTorc2/Akt signaling in other insulin-sensitive organs, leading to insulin resistance that could be largely reversed with antioxidant treatment. These data delineate a pathway through which Sirt1 maintains insulin sensitivity and suggest that treatment with antioxidants might provide protection against progressive insulin resistance in older human populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology*
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Mice
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirtuin 1 / deficiency*
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxo1 protein, mouse
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Sirt1 protein, mouse
  • Sirtuin 1