Sirtuins are a family of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases, which regulate cell survival and energy metabolism,
inflammation and cancer. Recent studies have shown that sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) modulates Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV)-1 transcription. The HIV-1 Tat protein is a substrate for the deacetylase activity of SIRT1; SIRT1 recycles
Tat to its unacetylated form, catalyzing a fundamental step to start new cycles of viral transcription. Moreover, Tat has
been reported to promote T-cell hyperactivation by suppressing SIRT1 activity. In fact, Tat blocks the ability of SIRT1 to
deacetylate lysine 310 in the p65 subunit of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) by interacting with the deacetylase domain of
SIRT1. This mechanism leads therefore to the hyperactivation of NF-κB proinflammatory pathway and may likely contribute
to the chronic immune activation state of HIV-infected individuals.
In the present review we first briefly describe the biological functions of sirtuins, then we delineate the interplay between
SIRT1 and HIV-1 and discuss the potential role of SIRT1 as a pharmacological target of HIV-1 replication.