Research Topic

Sirtuins in Biology and Disease

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Sirtuins comprise a family of NAD+-dependent enzymes that have been shown to impact longevity in a number of eukaryotic organisms. Sir2 (Silent Information Regulator 2) was the first sirtuin protein discovered. The discovery that Sir2 requires NAD+ for its activity suggested a link between Sir2 activity and ...

Sirtuins comprise a family of NAD+-dependent enzymes that have been shown to impact longevity in a number of eukaryotic organisms. Sir2 (Silent Information Regulator 2) was the first sirtuin protein discovered. The discovery that Sir2 requires NAD+ for its activity suggested a link between Sir2 activity and the phenomenon of caloric restriction in prolonging longevity. This link was strengthened by the observation that lifespan extension by caloric restriction requires Sir2 protein. Under conditions of caloric restriction, NAD+ levels are high, Sir2 is activated, and the rate of aging is decreased. These effects have been replicated in invertebrate organisms, where a close structural and functional homologue of Sir2 was found in C. elegans and Drosophila. The sirtuin-dependent effects on metabolism and ageing, observed in lower organisms, have ignited intensive investigation of their biological and therapeutic roles in mammals.
There are seven known mammalian sirtuins, SIRTs 1-7, the most studied of which is SIRT1, a close structural and functional homologue of yeast Sir2. Enhancement of organismal longevity and other health-promoting effects of mammalian SIRT1 have frequently been attributed to the regulation of metabolism. A recognized molecular link between metabolism and aging stimulated a firestorm of investigations, aiming to combat metabolic and age-dependent human diseases. It has become clear, however, that the sirtuin family of proteins regulates a diverse repertoire of cellular functions in mammals. Mounting evidence implicating SIRT1 in important clinical indications, such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular dysfunction and neurodegenerative disease, suggest that modality as attractive therapeutic target. Subsequently, drug discovery and development, targeting sirtuin activation, has been intensified in the recent years.
Despite rapid progress and accumulation of new data, the biological roles of other mammalian sirtuins have been less studied and remain poorly understood. There are several important questions that remain to be addressed. What are the functions of sirtuins in different cell types and tissues? Are all sirtuins involved in the regulation of metabolism and aging? What is the functional relationship between different sirtuins? What are the mechanisms of regulation of sirtuin activities? What is the role of sirtuins in disease and therapy? This issue aims to address these and other critical questions, relevant to Research Topic on sirtuin biology and therapeutics. To that end the issue solicits expert opinions of sirtuin research on structural biology, biochemistry, cell biology, animal genetics, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, and on areas of investigation studying human conditions, like diabetes, cancer, cardio-vascular, and neutodegeneration. Of particular interest are the new methods and assays to study sirtuins in various organisms and developing sirtuin-based therapeutics. Furthermore, we propose to encourage contributors to discuss new concepts and paradigms, and to express their perspectives on the future development of the sirtuin research field.
Altogether, we believe this issue provides a unique opportunity for comprehensive and diverse coverage of the topic, and will be of broad interest for the journal’s readership.


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