Leonard Guarente

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (116)1838.05 Total impact

  • Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: The 40th anniversary of Cell coincides with that of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Indeed, Cell papers on NIA-funded research helped move the field into a genetic and molecular era. Now is a fair time to ask whether we are far down a trail leading to a deep understanding of aging or whether we are still tiptoeing cautiously at the trailhead.
    09/2014; 159(1):15–19.
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are NAD(+)-dependent deacylases that regulate numerous biological processes in response to the environment. SirT1 is the mammalian ortholog of yeast Sir2, and is involved in many metabolic pathways in somatic tissues. Whole body deletion of SirT1 alters reproductive function in oocytes and the testes, in part caused by defects in central neuro-endocrine control. To study the function of SirT1 specifically in the male germ line, we deleted this sirtuin in male germ cells and found that mutant mice had smaller testes, a delay in differentiation of pre-meiotic germ cells, decreased spermatozoa number, an increased proportion of abnormal spermatozoa and reduced fertility. At the molecular level, mutants do not have the characteristic increase in acetylation of histone H4 at residues K5, K8 and K12 during spermiogenesis and demonstrate corresponding defects in the histone to protamine transition. Our findings thus reveal a germ cell-autonomous role of SirT1 in spermatogenesis.
    Development (Cambridge, England). 08/2014;
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    Gizem Donmez, Diana Wang, Dena E Cohen, Leonard Guarente
    Cell. 08/2014; 158(4):959.
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    ABSTRACT: SIRT1 is a metabolic sensor and regulator in various mammalian tissues and functions to counteract metabolic and age-related diseases. Here we generated and analyzed mice that express SIRT1 at high levels specifically in skeletal muscle. We show that SIRT1 transgenic muscle exhibits a fiber shift from fast-to-slow twitch, increased levels of PGC-1α, markers of oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis, and decreased expression of the atrophy gene program. To examine whether increased activity of SIRT1 protects from muscular dystrophy, a muscle degenerative disease, we crossed SIRT1 muscle transgenic mice to mdx mice, a genetic model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. SIRT1 overexpression in muscle reverses the phenotype of mdx mice, as determined by histology, creatine kinase release into the blood, and endurance in treadmill exercise. In addition, SIRT1 overexpression also results in increased levels of utrophin, a functional analogue of dystrophin, as well as increased expression of PGC-1α targets and neuromuscular junction genes. Based on these findings, we suggest that pharmacological interventions that activate SIRT1 in skeletal muscle might offer a new approach for treating muscle diseases.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2014; 10(7):e1004490. · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Shin-Ichiro Imai, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) is a classical coenzyme mediating many redox reactions. NAD(+) also plays an important role in the regulation of NAD(+)-consuming enzymes, including sirtuins, poly-ADP-ribose polymerases (PARPs), and CD38/157 ectoenzymes. NAD(+) biosynthesis, particularly mediated by nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), and SIRT1 function together to regulate metabolism and circadian rhythm. NAD(+) levels decline during the aging process and may be an Achilles' heel, causing defects in nuclear and mitochondrial functions and resulting in many age-associated pathologies. Restoring NAD(+) by supplementing NAD(+) intermediates can dramatically ameliorate these age-associated functional defects, counteracting many diseases of aging, including neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, the combination of sirtuin activation and NAD(+) intermediate supplementation may be an effective antiaging intervention, providing hope to aging societies worldwide.
    Trends in cell biology 04/2014; · 12.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative and carbonyl stress is increased in lungs of smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as in cigarette smoke (CS)-exposed rodent lungs. We previously showed that sirtuin1 (SIRT1), an anti-aging protein, is reduced in lungs of CS-exposed mice and COPD patients, and that SIRT1 attenuates CS-induced lung inflammation and injury. It is not clear whether SIRT1 protects against CS-induced lung oxidative stress. Therefore, we determined the effect of SIRT1 on lung oxidative stress and antioxidants in response to CS exposure using loss and gain of function approaches, as well as a pharmacological SIRT1 activation by SRT1720. We found that CS exposure increased protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation in lungs of WT mice, which was further augmented in SIRT1 deficient mice. Furthermore, both SIRT1 genetic overexpression and SRT1720 treatment significantly decreased oxidative stress induced by CS exposure. FOXO3 deletion augmented lipid peroxidation products but reduced antioxidants in response to CS exposure, which was not affected by SRT1720. Interestingly, SRT1720 treatment exhibited a similar effect on lipid peroxidation and antioxidants (i.e., MnSOD, HO-1 and NQO-1) in WT and Nrf2 deficient mice in response to CS exposure. This indicates that SIRT1 protects against CS-induced oxidative stress, which is mediated by FOXO3, but is independent of Nrf2. Overall, these findings reveal a novel function of SIRT1, which is to reduce CS-induced oxidative stress, and this may contribute to its protective effects against lung inflammation and subsequent development of COPD.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 03/2014; · 3.52 Impact Factor
  • A Zara Herskovits, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent deacylases that have traditionally been linked with calorie restriction and aging in mammals. These proteins also play an important role in maintaining neuronal health during aging. During neuronal development, the SIR2 ortholog SIRT1 is structurally important, promoting axonal elongation, neurite outgrowth, and dendritic branching. This sirtuin also plays a role in memory formation by modulating synaptic plasticity. Hypothalamic functions that affect feeding behavior, endocrine function, and circadian rhythmicity are all regulated by SIRT1. Finally, SIRT1 plays protective roles in several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and motor neuron diseases, which may relate to its functions in metabolism, stress resistance, and genomic stability. Drugs that activate SIRT1 may offer a promising approach to treat these disorders.
    Neuron 02/2014; 81(3):471-483. · 15.77 Impact Factor
  • Leonard Guarente
    Nature medicine 01/2014; 20(1):24-5. · 27.14 Impact Factor
  • Hung-Chun Chang, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins such as SIRT1 are conserved protein NAD(+)-dependent deacylases and thus their function is intrinsically linked to cellular metabolism. Over the past two decades, accumulating evidence has indicated that sirtuins are not only important energy status sensors but also protect cells against metabolic stresses. Sirtuins regulate the aging process and are themselves regulated by diet and environmental stress. The versatile functions of sirtuins including, more specifically, SIRT1 are supported by their diverse cellular location allowing cells to sense changes in energy levels in the nucleus, cytoplasm, and mitochondrion. SIRT1 plays a critical role in metabolic health by deacetylating many target proteins in numerous tissues, including liver, muscle, adipose tissue, heart, and endothelium. This sirtuin also exerts important systemic effects via the hypothalamus. This review will cover these topics and suggest that strategies to maintain sirtuin activity may be on the horizon to forestall diseases of aging.
    Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 12/2013; · 8.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hepatocyte-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a hormone-like regulator of metabolism. The NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 regulates fatty acid metabolism through multiple nutrient sensors. Hepatic overexpression of SIRT1 reduces steatosis and glucose intolerance in obese mice. We investigated mechanisms by which SIRT controls hepatic steatosis in mice. Mice with liver-specific disruption of Sirt1 (SIRT1 LKO mice) and their wild-type littermates (controls) were divided into groups that were placed on normal chow diets, fasted for 24 hrs, or fasted for 24 hrs and then fed for 6 hrs. Liver tissues were collected and analyzed by histologic, gene expression profile, and real-time PCR assays. Human HepG2 cells were incubated with pharmacologic activators of SIRT1 (resveratrol or SRT1720) and assessed by mitochondrial oxidation and immunoblot analyses. FGF21 was overexpressed in SIRT1 LKO mice using an adenoviral vector. Energy expenditure was assessed by indirect calorimetry. Fasting induced lipid deposition in livers of control mice, but severe hepatic steatosis in SIRT1 LKO mice. Gene expression analysis showed that fasting upregulated FGF21 in livers of control, but not SIRT1 LKO mice. Decreased hepatic and circulating levels of FGF21 in fasted SIRT1 LKO mice were associated with reduced hepatic expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis, and increased expression of genes that control lipogenesis, compared with fasted control mice. Resveratrol or SRT1720 each increased transcriptional activity of the FGF21 promoter (-2070/+117) and levels of FGF21 mRNA and protein in HepG2 cells. Surprisingly, SIRT1 LKO mice developed late-onset obesity with impaired whole-body energy expenditure. Hepatic overexpression of FGF21 in SIRT1 LKO mice increased expression of genes that regulate fatty acid oxidation, decreased fasting-induced steatosis, reduced obesity, increased energy expenditure, and promoted browning of white adipose tissue. SIRT1-mediated activation of FGF21 prevents liver steatosis caused by fasting. This hepatocyte-derived endocrine signaling appears to regulate expression of genes that control a brown fat-like program in white adipose tissue, energy expenditure, and adiposity. Strategies to activate SIRT1 or FGF21 might be used to treat fatty liver disease and obesity.
    Gastroenterology 10/2013; · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a NAD(+)-regulated deacetylase with numerous known positive effects on cellular and whole-body metabolism, is expressed in the renal cortex and medulla. It is known to have protective effects against age-related disease, including diabetes. Here we investigated the protective role of Sirt1 in diabetic renal damage. We found that Sirt1 in proximal tubules (PTs) was downregulated before albuminuria occurred in streptozotocin-induced or obese (db/db) diabetic mice. PT-specific SIRT1 transgenic and Sirt1 knockout mice showed prevention and aggravation of the glomerular changes that occur in diabetes, respectively, and nondiabetic knockout mice exhibited albuminuria, suggesting that Sirt1 in PTs affects glomerular function. Downregulation of Sirt1 and upregulation of the tight junction protein Claudin-1 by SIRT1-mediated epigenetic regulation in podocytes contributed to albuminuria. We did not observe these phenomena in 5/6 nephrectomized mice. We also demonstrated retrograde interplay from PTs to glomeruli using nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) from conditioned medium, measurement of the autofluorescence of photoactivatable NMN and injection of fluorescence-labeled NMN. In human subjects with diabetes, the levels of SIRT1 and Claudin-1 were correlated with proteinuria levels. These results suggest that Sirt1 in PTs protects against albuminuria in diabetes by maintaining NMN concentrations around glomeruli, thus influencing podocyte function.
    Nature medicine 10/2013; · 27.14 Impact Factor
  • David A Sinclair, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are NAD(+)-dependent lysine deacylases that play central roles in cell survival, inflammation, energy metabolism, and aging. Members of this family of enzymes are considered promising pharmaceutical targets for the treatment of age-related diseases including cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and Alzheimer's disease. SIRT1-activating compounds (STACs), which have been identified from a variety of chemical classes, provide health benefits in animal disease models. Recent data point to a common mechanism of allosteric activation by natural and synthetic STACs that involves the binding of STACs to a conserved N-terminal domain in SIRT1. Compared with polyphenols such as resveratrol, the synthetic STACs show greater potency, solubility, and target selectivity. Although considerable progress has been made regarding SIRT1 allosteric activation, key questions remain, including how the molecular contacts facilitate SIRT1 activation, whether other sirtuin family members will be amenable to activation, and whether STACs will ultimately prove safe and efficacious in humans. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology Volume 54 is January 06, 2014. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
    Annual Review of Pharmacology 10/2013; · 21.54 Impact Factor
  • Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: Calorie or dietary restriction (CR) has attracted attention because it is the oldest and most robust way to extend rodent life span. The idea that the nutrient sensors, termed sirtuins, might mediate effects of CR was proposed 13 years ago and has been challenged in the intervening years. This review addresses these challenges and draws from a great body of new data in the sirtuin field that shows a systematic redirection of mammalian physiology in response to diet by sirtuins. The prospects for drugs that can deliver at least a subset of the benefits of CR seems very real.
    Genes & development 10/2013; 27(19):2072-2085. · 12.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuin1 (SIRT1), a protein/histone deacetylase, protects against the development of pulmonary emphysema. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this observation remain elusive. The imbalance of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs)/matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema. We hypothesized that SIRT1 protects against emphysema by redressing the imbalance between MMPs and TIMPs. To test this hypothesis, SIRT1 deficient and overexpressing/transgenic mice were exposed to cigarette smoke (CS). The protein level and activity of MMP-9 were increased in lungs of SIRT1 deficient mice exposed to CS as compared to WT littermates, which were attenuated by SIRT1 overexpression. SIRT1 deficiency decreased the level of TIMP-1, which was augmented in SIRT1 transgenic mice as compared to WT littermates by CS. However, the level of MMP-2, MMP-12, TIMP-2, TIMP-3, or TIMP-4 was not altered by SIRT1 in response to CS exposure. SIRT1 reduction was associated with imbalance of TIMP-1 and MMP-9 in lungs of smokers and COPD patients. Mass spectrometry and immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that TIMP-1 acetylation on specific lysine residues was increased, whereas its interaction with SIRT1 and MMP-9 was reduced in mouse lungs with emphysema, as well as in lungs of smokers and COPD patients. SIRT1 deficiency increased CS-induced TIMP-1 acetylation, and these effects were attenuated by SIRT1 overexpression. These results suggest that SIRT1 protects against COPD/emphysema via redressing the TIMP-1/MMP-9 imbalance involving TIMP-1 deacetylation. Thus, redressing the TIMP-1/MMP-9 imbalance by pharmacological activation of SIRT1 is an attractive approach in the intervention of COPD.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 09/2013; · 3.52 Impact Factor
  • Leonard Guarente
    EMBO Reports 08/2013; · 7.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reductively metabolized glutamine is a major cellular carbon source for fatty acid synthesis during hypoxia or when mitochondrial respiration is impaired. Yet, a mechanistic understanding of what determines reductive metabolism is missing. Here we identify several cellular conditions where the α-ketoglutarate/citrate ratio is changed due to an altered acetyl-CoA to citrate conversion, and demonstrate that reductive glutamine metabolism is initiated in response to perturbations that result in an increase in the α-ketoglutarate/citrate ratio. Thus, targeting reductive glutamine conversion for a therapeutic benefit might require distinct modulations of metabolite concentrations rather than targeting the upstream signalling, which only indirectly affects the process.
    Nature Communications 07/2013; 4:2236. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: NAD(+) is an important cofactor regulating metabolic homeostasis and a rate-limiting substrate for sirtuin deacylases. We show that NAD(+) levels are reduced in aged mice and Caenorhabditis elegans and that decreasing NAD(+) levels results in a further reduction in worm lifespan. Conversely, genetic or pharmacological restoration of NAD(+) prevents age-associated metabolic decline and promotes longevity in worms. These effects are dependent upon the protein deacetylase sir-2.1 and involve the induction of mitonuclear protein imbalance as well as activation of stress signaling via the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPR(mt)) and the nuclear translocation and activation of FOXO transcription factor DAF-16. Our data suggest that augmenting mitochondrial stress signaling through the modulation of NAD(+) levels may be a target to improve mitochondrial function and prevent or treat age-associated decline.
    Cell 07/2013; 154(2):430-41. · 31.96 Impact Factor
  • Hung-Chun Chang, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: SIRT1 is a NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylase that governs many physiological pathways, including circadian rhythm in peripheral tissues. Here, we show that SIRT1 in the brain governs central circadian control by activating the transcription of the two major circadian regulators, BMAL1 and CLOCK. This activation comprises an amplifying circadian loop involving SIRT1, PGC-1α, and Nampt. In aged wild-type mice, SIRT1 levels in the suprachiasmatic nucleus are decreased, as are those of BMAL1 and PER2, giving rise to a longer intrinsic period, a more disrupted activity pattern, and an inability to adapt to changes in the light entrainment schedule. Young mice lacking brain SIRT1 phenocopy these aging-dependent circadian changes, whereas mice that overexpress SIRT1 in the brain are protected from the effects of aging. Our findings indicate that SIRT1 activates the central pacemaker to maintain robust circadian control in young animals, and a decay in this activity may play an important role in aging.
    Cell 06/2013; 153(7):1448-60. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    Adrianna Z Herskovits, Leonard Guarente
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuin enzymes are a family of highly conserved protein deacetylases that depend on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) for their activity. There are seven sirtuins in mammals and these proteins have been linked with caloric restriction and aging by modulating energy metabolism, genomic stability and stress resistance. Sirtuin enzymes are potential therapeutic targets in a variety of human diseases including cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Modulation of sirtuin activity has been shown to impact the course of several aggregate-forming neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy. Sirtuins can influence the progression of neurodegenerative disorders by modulating transcription factor activity and directly deacetylating proteotoxic species. Here, we describe sirtuin protein targets in several aggregate-forming neurodegenerative diseases and discuss the therapeutic potential of compounds that modulate sirtuin activity in these disorders.Cell Research advance online publication 21 May 2013; doi:10.1038/cr.2013.70.
    Cell Research 05/2013; · 10.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metformin inhibits cancer cell proliferation and epidemiology studies suggest an association with increased survival in cancer patients taking metformin, however, the mechanism by which metformin improves cancer outcomes remains controversial. To explore how metformin might directly affect cancer cells, we analyzed how metformin altered the metabolism of prostate cancer cells and tumors. We found that metformin decreased glucose oxidation and increased dependency on reductive glutamine metabolism in both cancer cell lines and in a mouse model of prostate cancer. Inhibition of glutamine anaplerosis in the presence of metformin further attenuated proliferation while increasing glutamine metabolism rescued the proliferative defect induced by metformin. These data suggest that interfering with glutamine may synergize with metformin to improve outcomes in patients with prostate cancer.
    Cancer Research 05/2013; · 9.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,838.05 Total Impact Points

Top Journals

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Biology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
      • Program in Gene Function and Expression
      Worcester, MA, United States
  • 2013
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Pathology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2012
    • University Center Rochester
      • Department of Environmental Medicine
      Rochester, Minnesota, United States
  • 2010
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • Department of Developmental Biology
      Saint Louis, MO, United States
  • 2004
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Genome Sciences
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2003
    • McGill University
      • Department of Biology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada