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This article is part of the supplement: Metabolism, diet and disease

Open Access Open Badges Oral presentation

Sirtuins, aging and diseases

Leonard Guarente

  • Correspondence: Leonard Guarente

Author Affiliations

Paul F. Glenn Lab and Department of Biology, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

BMC Proceedings 2012, 6(Suppl 3):O8  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-6-S3-O8

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:1 June 2012

© 2012 Guarente; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Oral presentation

SIR2 and related genes (sirtuins) are NAD-dependent deacetylases that link metabolism, protein acetylation and aging in a variety of species. Sirtuins are also involved in the longevity conferred by dietary or calorie restriction (CR). The mammalian sirtuins SIRT1-7 are involved in changes in stress resistance and metabolism that are triggered by CR, which not only extends life span, but also protects against many diseases of aging. In this talk, I will describe how mamamlian SIRT1 impacts tissue metabolism and diseases by deacetylating nuclear transcription factors that govern key physiological pathways. I will also describe new data from several labs showing that the mitochondrial sirtuin SIRT3 suppresses reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria and thus links sirtuins, calorie restriction, ROS, mitochondria and aging. The effect of SIRT3 on mitochondrial generated ROS further regulates the key nuclear transcription factor HIF-1α, and may thus govern the metabolic reprogramming (Warburg effect) in cancer. Finally, I will touch upon recent progress in trying to understand the mechanism of action of SIRT1-activating compounds, which are currently in numerous human clinical trials.

Supported by NIA & Glenn Foundation for Medical Research. LG consults for Sirtris/GSK.