Calorie restriction extends lifespan in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals. In yeast, the SIR2 gene mediates the life-extending effects of calorie restriction. Here we show that the mammalian SIR2 orthologue, Sirt1 (sirtuin 1), activates a critical component of calorie restriction in mammals; that is, fat mobilization in white adipocytes. Upon food withdrawal Sirt1 protein binds to and represses genes controlled by the fat regulator PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma), including genes mediating fat storage. Sirt1 represses PPAR-gamma by docking with its cofactors NCoR (nuclear receptor co-repressor) and SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptors). Mobilization of fatty acids from white adipocytes upon fasting is compromised in Sirt1+/- mice. Repression of PPAR-gamma by Sirt1 is also evident in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, where overexpression of Sirt1 attenuates adipogenesis, and RNA interference of Sirt1 enhances it. In differentiated fat cells, upregulation of Sirt1 triggers lipolysis and loss of fat. As a reduction in fat is sufficient to extend murine lifespan, our results provide a possible molecular pathway connecting calorie restriction to life extension in mammals.
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