Brian J North

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

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Publications (22)151.75 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mice overexpressing the mitotic checkpoint kinase gene BubR1 live longer, whereas mice hypomorphic for BubR1 (BubR1(H/H)) live shorter and show signs of accelerated aging. As wild-type mice age, BubR1 levels decline in many tissues, a process that is proposed to underlie normal aging and age-related diseases. Understanding why BubR1 declines with age and how to slow this process is therefore of considerable interest. The sirtuins (SIRT1-7) are a family of NAD(+)-dependent deacetylases that can delay age-related diseases. Here, we show that the loss of BubR1 levels with age is due to a decline in NAD(+) and the ability of SIRT2 to maintain lysine-668 of BubR1 in a deacetylated state, which is counteracted by the acetyltransferase CBP. Overexpression of SIRT2 or treatment of mice with the NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) increases BubR1 abundance in vivo. Overexpression of SIRT2 in BubR1(H/H) animals increases median lifespan, with a greater effect in male mice. Together, these data indicate that further exploration of the potential of SIRT2 and NAD(+) to delay diseases of aging in mammals is warranted.
    The EMBO Journal 05/2014; · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Taxanes are potent inhibitors of cell motility, a property implicated in their antiangiogenic and antimetastatic activity and unrelated to their antiproliferative effect. The molecular mechanism of this anti-motility activity is poorly understood. In this study, we found that paclitaxel induced tubulin acetylation in endothelial and tumor cells, at concentrations that affected cell motility but not proliferation (10(-8) to 10(-9) M, for 4 hours). Induction of tubulin acetylation correlated with inhibition of motility but not proliferation based on a comparison of highly and poorly cytotoxic taxanes (paclitaxel and IDN5390) and tumor cell lines sensitive and resistant to paclitaxel (1A9 and 1A9 PTX22). Consistent with the hypothesis that tubulin deacetylase activity might affect cell response to the anti-motility activity of taxanes, we found that overexpression of the tubulin deacetylase SIRT2 increased cell motility and reduced cell response to the anti-motility activity of paclitaxel. Conversely, the SIRT2 inhibitor splitomicin reduced cell motility and potentiated the anti-motility activity of paclitaxel. The inhibitory effect was further potentiated by the addition of the HDAC6 inhibitor trichostatin A. Paclitaxel and splitomicin promoted translocation into the nucleus-and hence activation-of FOXO3a, a negative regulator of cell motility. This study indicates a role for SIRT2 in the regulation of cell motility and suggests that therapies combining sirtuin inhibitors and taxanes could be used to treat cell motility-based pathologic processes such as tumor angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 09/2012; 14(9):846-54. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resveratrol induces mitochondrial biogenesis and protects against metabolic decline, but whether SIRT1 mediates these benefits is the subject of debate. To circumvent the developmental defects of germline SIRT1 knockouts, we have developed an inducible system that permits whole-body deletion of SIRT1 in adult mice. Mice treated with a moderate dose of resveratrol showed increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function, AMPK activation, and increased NAD(+) levels in skeletal muscle, whereas SIRT1 knockouts displayed none of these benefits. A mouse overexpressing SIRT1 mimicked these effects. A high dose of resveratrol activated AMPK in a SIRT1-independent manner, demonstrating that resveratrol dosage is a critical factor. Importantly, at both doses of resveratrol no improvements in mitochondrial function were observed in animals lacking SIRT1. Together these data indicate that SIRT1 plays an essential role in the ability of moderate doses of resveratrol to stimulate AMPK and improve mitochondrial function both in vitro and in vivo.
    Cell metabolism 05/2012; 15(5):675-90. · 17.35 Impact Factor
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    Brian J North, David A Sinclair
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    ABSTRACT: The average lifespan of humans is increasing, and with it the percentage of people entering the 65 and older age group is growing rapidly and will continue to do so in the next 20 years. Within this age group, cardiovascular disease will remain the leading cause of death, and the cost associated with treatment will continue to increase. Aging is an inevitable part of life and unfortunately poses the largest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although numerous studies in the cardiovascular field have considered both young and aged humans, there are still many unanswered questions as to how the genetic pathways that regulate aging in model organisms influence cardiovascular aging. Likewise, in the molecular biology of aging field, few studies fully assess the role of these aging pathways in cardiovascular health. Fortunately, this gap is beginning to close, and these two fields are merging together. We provide an overview of some of the key genes involved in regulating lifespan and health span, including sirtuins, AMP-activated protein kinase, mammalian target of rapamycin, and insulin-like growth factor 1 and their roles regulating cardiovascular health. We then discuss a series of review articles that will appear in succession and provide a more comprehensive analysis of studies carried out linking genes of aging and cardiovascular health, and perspectives of future directions of these two intimately linked fields.
    Circulation Research 04/2012; 110(8):1097-108. · 11.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The formation of myelin by Schwann cells (SCs) occurs via a series of orchestrated molecular events. We previously used global expression profiling to examine peripheral nerve myelination and identified the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase Sir-two-homolog 2 (Sirt2) as a protein likely to be involved in myelination. Here, we show that Sirt2 expression in SCs is correlated with that of structural myelin components during both developmental myelination and remyelination after nerve injury. Transgenic mice lacking or overexpressing Sirt2 specifically in SCs show delays in myelin formation. In SCs, we found that Sirt2 deacetylates Par-3, a master regulator of cell polarity. The deacetylation of Par-3 by Sirt2 decreases the activity of the polarity complex signaling component aPKC, thereby regulating myelin formation. These results demonstrate that Sirt2 controls an essential polarity pathway in SCs during myelin assembly and provide insights into the association between intracellular metabolism and SC plasticity.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2011; 108(43):E952-61. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Ejc Supplements - EJC SUPPL. 01/2008; 6(12):142-142.
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are homologues of the yeast transcriptional repressor Sir2p and are conserved from bacteria to humans. We report that human SIRT4 is localized to the mitochondria. SIRT4 is a matrix protein and becomes cleaved at amino acid 28 after import into mitochondria. Mass spectrometry analysis of proteins that coimmunoprecipitate with SIRT4 identified insulindegrading enzyme and the ADP/ATP carrier proteins, ANT2 and ANT3. SIRT4 exhibits no histone deacetylase activity but functions as an efficient ADP-ribosyltransferase on histones and bovine serum albumin. SIRT4 is expressed in islets of Langerhans and colocalizes with insulin-expressing beta cells. Depletion of SIRT4 from insulin-producing INS-1E cells results in increased insulin secretion in response to glucose. These observations define a new role for mitochondrial SIRT4 in the regulation of insulin secretion.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2007; 282(46):33583-92. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Brian J North, Eric Verdin
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are evolutionarily conserved NAD(+)-dependent deacetylases and ADP-ribosyltransferases involved in the regulation of cell division, apoptosis, DNA damage repair, genomic silencing, and longevity. Recent studies have focused on identifying target substrates for human sirtuin enzymatic activity, but little is known about processes that directly regulate their function. Here, we demonstrate that SIRT2 is phosphorylated both in vitro and in vivo on serine 368 by the cell-cycle regulator, cyclin-dependent kinase 1, and dephosphorylated by the phosphatases CDC14A and CDC14B. Overexpression of SIRT2 mediates a delay in cellular proliferation that is dependent on serine 368 phosphorylation. Furthermore, mutation of serine 368 reduces hyperploidy in cells under mitotic stress due to microtubule poisons.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2007; 282(27):19546-55. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Brian J North, Eric Verdin
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    ABSTRACT: The human NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase SIRT2 resides predominantly in the cytoplasm where it functions as a tubulin deacetylase. Here we report that SIRT2 maintains a largely cytoplasmic localization during interphase by active nuclear export in a Crm1-dependent manner. We identified a functional, leptomycin B-sensitive, nuclear export signal sequence within SIRT2. During the cell cycle, SIRT2 becomes enriched in the nucleus and is associated with mitotic structures, beginning with the centrosome during prophase, the mitotic spindle during metaphase, and the midbody during cytokinesis. Cells overexpressing wild-type or a catalytically inactive SIRT2 exhibit an increase in multinucleated cells. The findings suggest a novel mechanism of regulating SIRT2 function by nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling, as well as a role for SIRT2 in the nucleus during interphase and throughout mitosis.
    PLoS ONE 02/2007; 2(8):e784. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    Brian J North, David A Sinclair
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) synthetase (AceCS), an evolutionarily conserved enzyme that converts acetate to acetyl-CoA, is activated by sirtuin-mediated deacetylation. Two recent studies show that this mechanism of regulation is also crucial for mammalian AceCS activity, indicating that control of metabolism at the step of converting acetate to acetyl-CoA is conserved. These findings highlight a metabolic regulatory network controlled by sirtuins that has implications for the mechanisms of calorie restriction and modulation of mammalian lifespan.
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences 02/2007; 32(1):1-4. · 13.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sirtuins are NAD-dependent protein deacetylases found in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans that share sequence homology with the yeast transcriptional regulator Sir2. In eukaryotes, sirtuins regulate The first two authors contributed equally to this review. transcriptional repression, recombination, cell cycle division, microtubule organization, and cellular responses to DNA-damaging agents. Sir2 proteins have also been implicated in regulating the molecular mechanisms of aging. Eukaryotic sirtuins contain a core catalytic domain and variable amino- and carboxyl-terminal extensions that regulate their subcellular localizations and catalytic activity. This review focuses on the diverse sub-cellular distribution, substrate specificity, and cellular functions of sirtuins with particular emphasis on the biology of mammalian sirtuins.
    12/2005: pages 237-268;
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    ABSTRACT: Class III histone deacetylases, or sirtuins, are homologous to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptional regulator SIR2. The class III enzymes are characterized by their dependence on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). This cofactor serves as an acetyl-group acceptor in the deacetylation reaction generating O-acetyl-ADP-ribose. Enzymatic activity of sirtuin can be measured in vitro using recombinant proteins purified from mammalian cells after overexpression or after purification from Escherichia coli. This review discusses protocols for the purification of enzymatically active human sirtuin 1, 2, and 3 and their activities on histone and nonhistone substrates.
    Methods 09/2005; 36(4):338-45. · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although originally characterized as nuclear enzymes controlling the stability of nucleosomes, histone deacetylases (HDACs) may also exert their activity within the cytosol. Recently, we have demonstrated that HDAC8, a class I HDAC, is a novel, prominently cytosolic marker of smooth muscle differentiation. As HDAC8 displays a striking stress fiber-like pattern of distribution and is coexpressed in vivo with smooth muscle alpha-actin (alpha-SMA) and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, we have explored the possible participation of this HDAC in smooth muscle cytoskeleton regulation. Cell fractionation assays performed with primary human smooth muscle cells (HSMCs) showed that HDAC8, in contrast to HDAC1 and HDAC3, was enriched in cytoskeleton-bound protein fractions and insoluble cell pellets, suggesting an association of HDAC8 with the cystoskeleton. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments using HSMCs, NIH-3T3 cells, and human prostate tissue lysates further demonstrated that HDAC8 associates with alpha-SMA but not with beta-actin. HDAC8 silencing through RNA interference strongly reduced the capacity of HSMCs to contract collagen lattices. Mock transfections had no effect on HSMC contractily, and transfections with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) specific for HDAC6, a cytosolic HDAC that functions as an alpha-tubulin deacetylase, resulted in a weak contraction inhibition. Although mock- and HDAC6 siRNA-transfected HSMCs showed no noticeable morphological changes, HDAC8 siRNA-transfected HSMCs displayed a size reduction with diminished cell spreading after replating. Altogether, our findings indicate that HDAC8 associates with the smooth muscle actin cytoskeleton and may regulate the contractile capacity of smooth muscle cells.
    The FASEB Journal 07/2005; 19(8):966-8. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Tat protein is acetylated by the transcriptional coactivator p300, a necessary step in Tat-mediated transactivation. We report here that Tat is deacetylated by human sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent class III protein deacetylase in vitro and in vivo. Tat and SIRT1 coimmunoprecipitate and synergistically activate the HIV promoter. Conversely, knockdown of SIRT1 via small interfering RNAs or treatment with a novel small molecule inhibitor of the SIRT1 deacetylase activity inhibit Tat-mediated transactivation of the HIV long terminal repeat. Tat transactivation is defective in SIRT1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts and can be rescued by expression of SIRT1. These results support a model in which cycles of Tat acetylation and deacetylation regulate HIV transcription. SIRT1 recycles Tat to its unacetylated form and acts as a transcriptional coactivator during Tat transactivation.
    PLoS Biology 03/2005; 3(2):e41. · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylases (HDACs) were originally identified as nuclear enzymes involved in gene transcription regulation. Until recently, it was thought that their activity was restricted within the nucleus, with histones as unique substrates. The demonstration that specific HDACs deacetylate nonhistone proteins, such as p53 and alpha-tubulin, broadened the field of activity of these enzymes. HDAC8, a class I HDAC, is considered to be ubiquitously expressed, as suggested by results of Northern blots performed on tissue RNA extracts, and transfection experiments using various cell lines have indicated that this enzyme may display a prominent nuclear localization. Using immunohistochemistry, we unexpectedly found that, in normal human tissues, HDAC8 is exclusively expressed by cells showing smooth muscle differentiation, including visceral and vascular smooth muscle cells, myoepithelial cells, and myofibroblasts, and is mainly detected in their cytosol. These findings were confirmed in vitro by nucleo-cytoplasmic fractionation and immunoblot experiments performed on human primary smooth muscle cells, and by the cytosolic detection of epitope-tagged HDAC8 overexpressed in fibroblasts. Immunocytochemistry strongly suggested a cytoskeleton-like distribution of the enzyme. Further double-immunofluorescence staining experiments coupled with confocal microscopy analysis showed that epitope-tagged HDAC8 overexpressed in murine fibroblasts formed cytoplasmic stress fiber-like structures that co-localized with the smooth muscle cytoskeleton protein smooth muscle alpha-actin. Our works represent the first demonstration of the restricted expression of a class I HDAC to a specific cell type and indicate that HDAC8, besides being a novel marker of smooth muscle differentiation, may play a role in the biology of these contractile cells.
    American Journal Of Pathology 09/2004; 165(2):553-64. · 4.60 Impact Factor
  • Methods in Enzymology 02/2004; 377:180-96. · 2.00 Impact Factor
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    Brian J North, Eric Verdin
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    ABSTRACT: Silent information regulator 2 (Sir2) proteins, or sirtuins, are protein deacetylases dependent on nicotine adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and are found in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. In eukaryotes, sirtuins regulate transcriptional repression, recombination, the cell-division cycle, microtubule organization, and cellular responses to DNA-damaging agents. Sirtuins have also been implicated in regulating the molecular mechanisms of aging. The Sir2 catalytic domain, which is shared among all sirtuins, consists of two distinct domains that bind NAD and the acetyl-lysine substrate, respectively. In addition to the catalytic domain, eukaryotic sirtuins contain variable amino- and carboxy-terminal extensions that regulate their subcellular localizations and catalytic activity.
    Genome biology 02/2004; 5(5):224. · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The silent information regulator 2 protein (Sir2p) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an NAD-dependent histone deacetylase that plays a critical role in transcriptional silencing. Here, we report that a human ortholog of Sir2p, sirtuin type 2 (SIRT2), is a predominantly cytoplasmic protein that colocalizes with microtubules. SIRT2 deacetylates lysine-40 of alpha-tubulin both in vitro and in vivo. Knockdown of SIRT2 via siRNA results in tubulin hyperacetylation. SIRT2 colocalizes and interacts in vivo with HDAC6, another tubulin deacetylase. Enzymatic analysis of recombinant SIRT2 in comparison to a yeast homolog of Sir2 protein (Hst2p) shows a striking preference of SIRT2 for acetylated tubulin peptide as a substrate relative to acetylated histone H3 peptide. These observations establish SIRT2 as a bona fide tubulin deacetylase.
    Molecular Cell 03/2003; 11(2):437-44. · 15.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor family play an essential role in multiple developmental processes. During neurogenesis, positive and negative regulation by bHLH proteins is essential for proper development. Here we report the identification and initial characterization of the bHLH gene, Neuronal twist (N-twist), named for its neural expression pattern and high sequence homology and physical linkage to the mesodermal inhibitor, M-twist. N-twist is expressed in the developing mouse central nervous system in the midbrain, hindbrain, and neural tube. This neural expression is conserved in invertebrates, as expression of the Drosophila ortholog of N-twist is also restricted to the central nervous system. Like other bHLH family members, N-Twist heterodimerizes with E protein and binds DNA at a consensus bHLH-binding site, the E box. We show that N-Twist inhibits MASH1-dependent transcriptional activation by sequestering E protein in a dominant negative fashion. Thus, these studies support the notion that N-Twist represents a novel negative regulator of neurogenesis.
    Developmental Biology 10/2002; 249(1):174-90. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The yeast silent information regulator (Sir)2 protein links cellular metabolism and transcriptional silencing through its nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent histone deacetylase activity. We report that mitochondria from mammalian cells contain intrinsic NAD-dependent deacetylase activity. This activity is inhibited by the NAD hydrolysis product nicotinamide, but not by trichostatin A, consistent with a class III deacetylase. We identify this deacetylase as the nuclear-encoded human Sir2 homologue hSIRT3, and show that hSIRT3 is located within the mitochondrial matrix. Mitochondrial import of hSIRT3 is dependent on an NH2-terminal amphipathic alpha-helix rich in basic residues. hSIRT3 is proteolytically processed in the mitochondrial matrix to a 28-kD product. This processing can be reconstituted in vitro with recombinant mitochondrial matrix processing peptidase (MPP) and is inhibited by mutation of arginines 99 and 100. The unprocessed form of hSIRT3 is enzymatically inactive and becomes fully activated in vitro after cleavage by MPP. These observations demonstrate the existence of a latent class III deacetylase that becomes catalytically activated upon import into the human mitochondria.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 09/2002; 158(4):647-57. · 10.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
151.75 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2012
    • Harvard Medical School
      • • Department of Genetics
      • • Department of Pathology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2002–2007
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • • Gladstone Institute
      • • Department of Physiology
      San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 2005
    • CSU Mentor
      Long Beach, California, United States