Telomere shortening is associated with stem cell decline, fibrotic disorders, and premature aging through mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here, we show that telomere shortening in livers of telomerase knockout mice leads to a p53-dependent repression of all seven sirtuins. P53 regulates non-mitochondrial sirtuins (Sirt1, 2, 6, and 7) post-transcriptionally through microRNAs (miR-34a, 26a, and 145), while the mitochondrial sirtuins (Sirt3, 4, and 5) are regulated in a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator 1 alpha-/beta-dependent manner at the transcriptional level. Administration of the NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide mononucleotide maintains telomere length, dampens the DNA damage response and p53, improves mitochondrial function, and, functionally, rescues liver fibrosis in a partially Sirt1-dependent manner. These studies establish sirtuins as downstream targets of dysfunctional telomeres and suggest that increasing Sirt1 activity alone or in combination with other sirtuins stabilizes telomeres and mitigates telomere-dependent disorders.
Keywords: liver disease; metabolism; p53; sirtuins; telomeres.
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