The sirtuins: Markers of metabolic health
Molecular Nutrition and Food Research
© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. The sirtuins represent a class of proteins first discovered orthologus to the yeast silent information regulator 2 protein that have been retained in mammalian species. Currently, seven sirtuins have been identified in humans, and their functions currently surpass their originally identified role as histone deacetylase and chromatin silencers to encompass nutrient sensing and metabolic function. All seven sirtuins require NAD+ in order to carry out their enzymatic activity, and thus become activated in conditions of nutrient depletion, starvation, and cellular stress. Caloric restriction and increased physical activity have been postulated, though perhaps controversially, to mediate sirtuin function. Here, we review the current literature surrounding the functions of the seven human sirtuins, mediators of their function, and the roles they play in metabolic health related to dietary and physical activity interventions. Despite the controversy surrounding sirtuin function with regard to longevity, we have aimed to show that regardless of its effects on aging, sirtuin function is pivotal to pathways involving metabolic health, and should therefore be investigated with regard to improving metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.