Deciphering the Allosteric Activation Mechanism of SIRT6 Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Zhiyuan Zhao, Jintong Du, Yu Du, Yuan Gao, Mingxuan Yu, Yingkai Zhang, Hao Fang, Xuben Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a member of the histone deacetylase protein family, the NAD+-dependent SIRT6 plays an important role in maintaining genomic stability and regulating cell metabolism. Interestingly, SIRT6 has been found to have a preference for hydrolyzing long-chain fatty acyls relative to deacetylation, and it can be activated by fatty acids. However, the mechanisms by which SIRT6 recognizes different substrates and can be activated by small molecular activators are still not well understood. In this study, we carried out extensive molecular dynamic simulations to shed light on these mechanisms. Our results revealed that the binding of the myristoylated substrate stabilizes the catalytically favorable conformation of NAD+, while the binding of the acetyl-lysine substrate leads to a loose binding of NAD+ in SIRT6. Based on these observations, we proposed a reasonable allosteric binding mode for myristic acid, which can enhance the catalytic activity of SIRT6 by stabilizing the binding of NAD+ with His131 as well as the acetylated substrate. Furthermore, our molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated that synthetic SIRT6 activators, such as UBCS039, MDL-801, and 12q, block the flipping of ribose in NAD+ and therefore can stabilize substrate-NAD+-His131 interactions in a manner similar to fatty acids. In summary, our newly proposed activation mechanism of SIRT6 highlights the importance of protein-substrate interactions, which would facilitate the rational design of new SIRT6 activators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5896-5902
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 25 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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