The sirtuins are a family of proteins that act predominantly as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent deacetylases. In mammals seven sirtuin family members exist, including three members, Sirt3, Sirt4, and Sirt5, that localize exclusively within the mitochondria. Although originally linked to life-span regulation in simple organisms, this family of proteins appears to have various and diverse functions in higher organisms. One particular property that is reviewed here is the regulation of mitochondrial number, turnover, and activity by various mitochondrial and nonmitochondrial sirtuins. An emerging consensus from these recent studies is that sirtuins may act as metabolic sensors, using intracellular metabolites such as NAD and short-chain carbon fragments such as acetyl coenzyme A to modulate mitochondrial function to match nutrient supply.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)