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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 14;107(50):21790-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016306107. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

Neural sirtuin 6 (Sirt6) ablation attenuates somatic growth and causes obesity.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


In yeast, Sir2 family proteins (sirtuins) regulate gene silencing, recombination, DNA repair, and aging via histone deacetylation. Most of the seven mammalian sirtuins (Sirt1-Sirt7) have been implicated as NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylases with targets ranging from transcriptional regulators to metabolic enzymes. We report that neural-specific deletion of sirtuin 6 (Sirt6) in mice leads to postnatal growth retardation due to somatotropic attenuation through low growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) levels. However, unlike Sirt6 null mice, neural Sirt6-deleted mice do not die from hypoglycemia. Instead, over time, neural Sirt6-deleted mice reach normal size and ultimately become obese. Molecularly, Sirt6 deletion results in striking hyperacetylation of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) and lysine 56 (H3K56), two chromatin marks implicated in the regulation of gene activity and chromatin structure, in various brain regions including those involved in neuroendocrine regulation. On the basis of these findings, we propose that Sirt6 functions as a central regulator of somatic growth and plays an important role in preventing obesity by modulating neural chromatin structure and gene activity.

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