Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Proceedings and BioMed Central.

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

Open Access Open Badges Oral presentation

Regulation of metabolism by sirtuins

Marcia Haigis

  • Correspondence: Marcia Haigis

Author Affiliations

Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

BMC Proceedings 2012, 6(Suppl 3):O9  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-6-S3-O9

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

Published:1 June 2012

© 2012 Haigis; 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

Mitochondrial sirtuins are NAD-dependent enzymes that bind and regulate numerous metabolic pathways within the mitochondria. For example, SIRT3 functions as an NAD-dependent deacetylase that binds and activates numerous oxidative pathways. We have discovered that sirtuins regulate metabolic pathways important in tumor cell metabolism. One hallmark feature of tumor cells is a shift from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism, and this reliance on aerobic glycolysis to support cell growth is known as the Warburg effect. We have discovered that SIRT3 has an additional effect on cellular metabolism by repressing cellular glycolysis through the regulation of HIF1α, a transcription factor that increases gene expression of glycolytic targets. SIRT3 null cells exhibit metabolic and genetic features of the Warburg effect and enhanced tumorigenecity in vivo. Likewise, SIRT3 overexpression reduces glycolysis in tumor cells. In sum, a better understanding of sirtuin-mediated regulation may identify novel ways to therapeutically target tumor metabolism.