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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 15;285(42):31995-2002. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.124164. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

SIRT4 regulates fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial gene expression in liver and muscle cells.

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Cardiovascular and Metabolism Disease Area, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


SIRT4, a member of the sirtuin family, has been implicated in the regulation of insulin secretion by modulation of glutamate dehydrogenase. However, the role of this enzyme in the regulation of metabolism in other tissues is unknown. In this study we investigated whether depletion of SIRT4 would enhance liver and muscle metabolic functions. To do this SIRT4 was knocked down using an adenoviral shRNA in mouse primary hepatocytes and myotubes. We observed a significant increase in gene expression of mitochondrial and fatty acid metabolism enzymes in hepatocytes with reduced SIRT4 levels. SIRT4 knockdown also increased SIRT1 mRNA and protein levels both in vitro and in vivo. In agreement with the increased fatty acid oxidation (FAO) gene expression, we showed a significant increase in FAO in SIRT4 knockdown primary hepatocytes compared with control, and this effect was dependent on SIRT1. In primary myotubes, knockdown of SIRT4 resulted in increased FAO, cellular respiration, and pAMPK levels. When SIRT4 was knocked down in vivo by tail vein injection of a shRNA adenovirus, we observed a significant increase in hepatic mitochondrial and FAO gene expression consistent with the findings in primary hepatocytes. Taken together these findings demonstrate that SIRT4 inhibition increases fat oxidative capacity in liver and mitochondrial function in muscle, which might provide therapeutic benefits for diseases associated with ectopic lipid storage such as type 2 diabetes.

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