Article open access publication

Investigating the Sensitivity of NAD+-dependent Sirtuin Deacylation Activities to NADH

Journal of Biological Chemistry, American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (ASBMB), ISSN 0021-9258

Volume 291, 13, 2016

DOI:10.1074/jbc.m115.668699, Dimensions: pub.1058213641, PMC: PMC4807294, PMID: 26861872,



  1. (1) Technical University of Denmark, grid.5170.3, DTU
  2. (2) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  3. (3) Duke University, grid.26009.3d
  4. (4) University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, grid.430503.1


Protein lysine posttranslational modification by an increasing number of different acyl groups is becoming appreciated as a regulatory mechanism in cellular biology. Sirtuins are class III histone deacylases that use NAD(+)as a co-substrate during amide bond hydrolysis. Several studies have described the sirtuins as sensors of the NAD(+)/NADH ratio, but it has not been formally tested for all the mammalian sirtuinsin vitro To address this problem, we first synthesized a wide variety of peptide-based probes, which were used to identify the range of hydrolytic activities of human sirtuins. These probes included aliphatic ϵ-N-acyllysine modifications with hydrocarbon lengths ranging from formyl (C1) to palmitoyl (C16) as well as negatively charged dicarboxyl-derived modifications. In addition to the well established activities of the sirtuins, "long chain" acyllysine modifications were also shown to be prone to hydrolytic cleavage by SIRT1-3 and SIRT6, supporting recent findings. We then tested the ability of NADH, ADP-ribose, and nicotinamide to inhibit these NAD(+)-dependent deacylase activities of the sirtuins. In the commonly used 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin-coupled fluorescence-based assay, the fluorophore has significant spectral overlap with NADH and therefore cannot be used to measure inhibition by NADH. Therefore, we turned to an HPLC-MS-based assay to directly monitor the conversion of acylated peptides to their deacylated forms. All tested sirtuin deacylase activities showed sensitivity to NADH in this assay. However, the inhibitory concentrations of NADH in these assays are far greater than the predicted concentrations of NADH in cells; therefore, our data indicate that NADH is unlikely to inhibit sirtuinsin vivo These data suggest a re-evaluation of the sirtuins as direct sensors of the NAD(+)/NADH ratio.


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Technical University of Denmark

University of Copenhagen

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Times Cited: 41

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 6.58

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 2.14

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