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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2016 Dec 15;438:77-88. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

The metabolic sensor Sirt1 and the hypothalamus: Interplay between peptide hormones and pro-hormone convertases.

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The Warren Alpert Medical School, Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA. Electronic address:


The last decade had witnessed a tremendous progress in our understanding of the causes of metabolic diseases including obesity. Among the contributing factors regulating energy balance are nutrient sensors such as sirtuins. Sirtuin1 (Sirt1), a NAD + - dependent deacetylase is affected by diet, environmental stress, and also plays a critical role in metabolic health by deacetylating proteins in many tissues, including liver, muscle, adipose tissue, heart, endothelium, and in the complexity of the hypothalamus. Because of its dependence on NAD+, Sirt1 also functions as a nutrient/redox sensor, and new novel data show a function of this enzyme in the maturation of hypothalamic peptide hormones controlling energy balance either through regulation of specific nuclear transcription factors or by regulating specific pro-hormone convertases (PCs) involved in the post-translational processing of pro-hormones. The post-translational processing mechanism of pro-hormones is critical in the pathogenesis of obesity as recently shown that metabolic and physiological triggers affect the biosynthesis and processing of many peptides hormones. Specific regulation of pro-hormone processing is likely another key step where final amounts of bioactive peptides can be tightly regulated. Different factors stimulate or inhibit pro-hormones biosynthesis in concert with an increase in the PCs involved in the maturation of bioactive hormones. Adding more complexity to the system, the new studies describe here suggest that Sirt1 could also regulate the fate of peptide hormone biosynthesis. The present review summarizes the recent progress in hypothalamic SIRT1 research with a particular emphasis on the tissue-specific control of neuropeptide hormone maturation. The series of studies done in mouse and rat models strongly advocate for the first time that a deacetylating enzyme could be a regulator in the maturation of peptide hormones and their processing enzymes. These discoveries are the culmination of the first in-depth understanding of the metabolic role of Sirt1 in the brain. It suggests that Sirt1 behaves differently in the brain than in organs such as the liver and pancreas, where the enzyme has been more commonly studied.


ACTH; CRH; MSH; Obesity; POMC; Sirt1

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