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Aging Cell. 2013 Dec;12(6):1062-72. doi: 10.1111/acel.12135. Epub 2013 Aug 11.

Elevated microRNA-34a in obesity reduces NAD+ levels and SIRT1 activity by directly targeting NAMPT.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon 442-749, Republic of Korea.
Institute for Medical Science, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon 442-749, Republic of Korea.
Laboratory of Signal Transduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
Contributed equally


SIRT1 is an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase that is implicated in prevention of many age-related diseases including metabolic disorders. As SIRT1 deacetylase activity is dependent on NAD(+) levels and the development of compounds that directly activate SIRT1 has been controversial, indirectly activating SIRT1 through enhancing NAD(+) bioavailability has received increasing attention. NAD(+) levels are reduced in obesity and the aged, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We recently showed that hepatic microRNA-34a (miR-34a), which is elevated in obesity, directly targets and decreases SIRT1 expression. Here, we further show that miR-34a reduces NAD(+) levels and SIRT1 activity by targeting NAMPT, the rate-limiting enzyme for NAD(+) biosynthesis. A functional binding site for miR-34a is present in the 3' UTR of NAMPT mRNA. Hepatic overexpression of miR-34a reduced NAMPT/NAD(+) levels, increased acetylation of the SIRT1 target transcriptional regulators, PGC-1α, SREBP-1c, FXR, and NF-κB, and resulted in obesity-mimetic outcomes. The decreased NAMPT/NAD(+) levels were independent of miR-34a effects on SIRT1 levels as they were also observed in SIRT1 liver-specific knockout mice. Further, the miR-34a-mediated decreases were reversed by treatment with the NAD(+) intermediate, nicotinamide mononucleotide. Conversely, antagonism of miR-34a in diet-induced obese mice restored NAMPT/NAD(+) levels and alleviated steatosis, inflammation, and glucose intolerance. Anti-miR-34a-mediated increases in NAD(+) levels were attenuated when NAMPT was downregulated. Our findings reveal a novel function of miR-34a in reducing both SIRT1 expression and activity in obesity. The miR-34a/NAMPT axis presents a potential target for treating obesity- and aging-related diseases involving SIRT1 dysfunction like steatosis and type 2 diabetes.


deacetylation; diabetes; miR-34a; resveratrol; sirtuins; steatosis

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