Sirtuins and the Estrogen Receptor as Regulators of the Mammalian Mitochondrial UPR in Cancer and Aging

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By being both the source of ATP and the mediator of apoptosis, the mitochondria are key regulators of cellular life and death. Not surprisingly alterations in the biology of the mitochondria have implications in a wide array of diseases including cancer and age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration. To protect the mitochondria against damage the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPR mt ) orchestrates several pathways, including the protein quality controls, the antioxidant machinery, oxidative phosphorylation, mitophagy, and mitochondrial biogenesis. While several reports have implicated an array of transcription factors in the UPR mt , most of the focus has been on studies of Caenorhabditis elegans, which led to the identification of ATFS-1, for which the mammalian homolog remains unknown. Meanwhile, there are studies which link the UPR mt to sirtuins and transcription factors of the Foxo family in both C. elegans and mammalian cells but those have been largely overlooked. This review aims at emphasizing the potential importance of these studies by building on the large body of literature supporting the key role of the sirtuins in the maintenance of the integrity of the mitochondria in both cancer and aging. Further, the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) are known to confer protection against mitochondrial stress, and at least ERα has been linked to the UPR mt . Considering the difference in gender longevity, this chapter also includes a discussion of the link between the ERα and ERβ and the mitochondria in cancer and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Cancer Research, 2016
EditorsKenneth D. Tew, Paul B. Fisher
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)9780128047897
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Cancer Research
ISSN (Print)0065-230X
ISSN (Electronic)2162-5557


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • FOXO3a
  • Mitochondria
  • SIRT3
  • SOD2
  • Sirtuins
  • Unfolded protein response


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