Sirtuins are a class of proteins that possess either mono-ADP-ribosyltransferase, or deacylase activity, including deacetylase, desuccinylase, demalonylase, demyristoylase and depalmitoylase activity. The name Sir2 comes from the yeast gene ‘silent mating-type information regulation 2‘, the gene responsible for cellular regulation in yeast.
From in vitro studies, sirtuins are implicated in influencing cellular processes like aging, transcription, apoptosis, inflammation and stress resistance, as well as energy efficiency and alertness during low-calorie situations. As of 2018, there was no clinical evidence that sirtuins affect human aging.
Although preliminary studies with resveratrol, an activator of deacetylases such as SIRT1, led some scientists to speculate that resveratrol may extend lifespan, there was no clinical evidence for such an effect, as of 2018.
In vitro studies shown that calorie restriction regulates the plasma membrane redox system, involved in mitochondrial homeostasis, and the reduction of inflammation through cross-talks between SIRT1 and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), but the role of sirtuins in longevity is still unclear, as calorie restriction in yeast could extend lifespan in the absence of Sir2 or other sirtuins, while the in vivo activation of Sir2 by calorie restriction or resveratrol to extend lifespan has been challenged in multiple organisms.