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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The silencing protein SIR2 and its homologs are NAD-dependent protein deacetylases.

Homologs of the chromatin-bound yeast silent information regulator 2 (SIR2) protein are found in organisms from all biological kingdoms. SIR2 itself was originally discovered to influence mating-type control in haploid cells by locus-specific transcriptional silencing. Since then, SIR2 and its homologs have been suggested to play additional roles in suppression of recombination, chromosomal stability, metabolic regulation, meiosis, and aging. Considering the far-ranging nature of these functions, a major experimental goal has been to understand the molecular mechanism(s) by which this family of proteins acts. We report here that members of the SIR2 family catalyze an NAD-nicotinamide exchange reaction that requires the presence of acetylated lysines such as those found in the N termini of histones. Significantly, these enzymes also catalyze histone deacetylation in a reaction that absolutely requires NAD, thereby distinguishing them from previously characterized deacetylases. The enzymes are active on histone substrates that have been acetylated by both chromatin assembly-linked and transcription-related acetyltransferases. Contrary to a recent report, we find no evidence that these proteins ADP-ribosylate histones. Discovery of an intrinsic deacetylation activity for the conserved SIR2 family provides a mechanism for modifying histones and other proteins to regulate transcription and diverse biological processes.[1]


  1. The silencing protein SIR2 and its homologs are NAD-dependent protein deacetylases. Landry, J., Sutton, A., Tafrov, S.T., Heller, R.C., Stebbins, J., Pillus, L., Sternglanz, R. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
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