Longevity and human health may be linked to a muscle cell enzyme

June 24, 2016, The Physiological Society

Exercise and fasting do not change the location of a key enzyme involved in energy production, a study in Experimental Physiology found.

SIRT3 is an important enzyme involved in fat metabolism and . Located within the mitochondria of human skeletal muscle, it acts by targeting certain proteins and altering their activity. Nearly every cell in the body contains mitochondria as they are responsible for producing the energy cells need to function properly. Learning more about the enzymes located in the mitochondria, their movements, and purpose in relation to the entire cell is essential for fully appreciating how cellular functions can influence the entire body's well-being.

To determine if SIRT3's location within muscle cells changes, healthy young men were split into two groups with one being subjected to endurance exercise for an hour and the other fasting for 48 hours. The researchers then took skeletal muscle biopsies at various time points post exercise and fasting and isolated the mitochondria. They found that, although the level of SIRT3 mRNA in cells decreases, its location does not change, suggesting that its activity is not regulated by changes in its abundance within mitochondria in human skeletal muscle.

Dr Brendon Gurd, Associate Professor of Muscle Physiology at Queen's University, Ontario Canada and lead investigator of the study explained, 'Skeletal muscle cells respond to stimuli by activating many in an attempt to meet the energy demands of the cell. Proteins can be regulated by controlling their access to certain areas of the cell, so we hypothesized that SIRT3 might travel to the mitochondria in response to exercise and fasting'.

He added, 'The family of sirtuins that SIRT3 belongs to are proposed to regulate longevity and metabolic health; however, most of the data to support this comes from research in cells and animals. Whether these proteins play a role in aging and health in humans needs to be confirmed, and more research is necessary to understand how sirtuins themselves are regulated in humans. Our study is one of the first to investigate how SIRT3 is regulated in humans, and understanding the mechanisms that might control SIRT3 activity is not only important at the basic science level, but may be crucial for future studies that try and target the activity of this protein in an attempt to combat various metabolic diseases in humans'.

In future, it will be interesting to note which proteins SIRT3 targets specifically in humans, and the mechanisms used to regulate this activity.

Explore further: Researchers identify new target for treatment of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes

More information: Brittany A. Edgett et al, SIRT3 gene expression but not subcellular localization is altered in response to fasting and exercise in human skeletal muscle, Experimental Physiology (2016). DOI: 10.1113/EP085744

Related Stories

Researchers identify new target for treatment of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes

August 22, 2011
Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have shown that an enzyme found in the mitochondria of cells is decreased in the skeletal muscle of those with diabetes, a finding that could lead to the development of drugs to boost ...

Animal study shows how exercise may energize brain cell function

November 19, 2015
As we age or develop neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's , our brain cells may not produce sufficient energy to remain fully functional. Researchers discovered that an enzyme called SIRT3 that is located in mitochondria—the ...

Ancient herbal therapy can prevent—and reverse—cardiac hypertrophy in mice

April 14, 2015
A natural compound derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, can protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, researchers ...

SIRT5 regulation of proteins involved in metabolism

December 10, 2013
The Sirtuin family of protein deacylases has received considerable attention in recent years due to its links to longevity, diabetes, cancer, and metabolic regulation. In a new study published in the Dec. 3rd 2013 issue of ...

Exercise may have therapeutic potential for expediting muscle repair in older populations

June 17, 2016
Here's another reason why you should hit the gym regularly as you grow older: A new report appearing online in The FASEB Journal shows that regular exercise plays a critical role in helping muscles repair themselves as quickly ...

Recommended for you

Study differentiates iPS cells into various ocular lineages

December 19, 2018
The discovery of pluripotent stem cells, which have the ability to differentiate into the huge range of different cell lineages that make up the human body, signaled the start of a new era in biological science and medicine. ...

Female biology – two X chromosomes and ovaries – extends life and protects mice from aging

December 18, 2018
Around the world, women outlive men. This is true in sickness and in health, in war and in peace, even during severe epidemics and famine. In most animal species, females live longer than males.

Get a warrant: Researchers demand better DNA protections

December 18, 2018
New laws are required to control access to medical genetic data by law enforcement agencies, an analysis by University of Queensland researchers has found.

Wound care revolution: Put away your rulers and reach for your phone

December 18, 2018
Monitoring a wound is critical, especially in diabetic patients, whose lack of sensation due to nerve damage can lead to infection of a lesion and, ultimately, amputation. Clinicians and healthcare professionals at the McGill ...

Using light to stop itch

December 17, 2018
Itch is easily one of the most annoying sensations. For chronic skin diseases like eczema, it's a major symptom. Although it gives temporary relief, scratching only makes things worse because it can cause skin damage, additional ...

Law professor suggests a way to validate and integrate deep learning medical systems

December 13, 2018
University of Michigan professor W. Nicholson Price, who also has affiliations with Harvard Law School and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, suggests in a Focus piece published in Science Translational Medicine, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.