Though they are known to prolong lifespan in lower organisms, the role of sirtuin enzymes in mammals is unknown. In Nature, Toren Finkel and colleagues discuss recent progress in mammalian sirtuin research and what role these enzymes may have in age-related diseases and how long we live.
Sirtuins are a highly conserved family of enzymes found in organisms that range from yeasts to humans. Members of this family were originally shown to prolong the lifespan of yeast cells by regulating DNA repair and gene transcription. Toren Finkel and colleagues discuss how in mice these enzymes have a significant role in cellular stress resistance and cell death, though no link has yet been found between sirtuins and prolonged lifespan in mice. The review also discusses metabolic studies and the role of sirtuins in glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion which implies that they may also play a part in regulating susceptibility to insulin resistance and diabetes.
These studies open the door to future studies on the role of sirtuins in cellular regulation and postponement of cellular ageing.
Toren Finkel (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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