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SIRT1 (silent information regulator 2 homolog 1) is a crucial cellular survival protein especially in oxidative stress environments, and has been thought to locate within the nuclei, but also known to shuttle between cytoplasm and nuclei in some cell types. Here, we show for the first time the dynamics of SIRT1 in the presence of single or concurrent cigarette smoke extract (CSE) exposure in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC). In BEAS-2B HBEC or primary HBEC, SIRT1 was localized predominantly in cytoplasm, and the CSE (3%) induced nuclear translocation of SIRT1 from cytoplasm in the presence of L-buthionine sulfoximine (an irreversible inhibitor of γ-glutamylcystein synthetase), mainly through the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) α subunit. This SIRT1 nuclear shuttling was associated with FOXO3a nuclear translocation and the strong induction of several anti-oxidant genes including superoxide dismutase (SOD) 2 and 3; therefore seemed to be an adaptive response. When BEAS-2B cells were pretreated with repeated exposure to a lower concentration of CSE (0.3%), the CSE-induced SIRT1 shuttling and resultant SOD2/3 mRNA induction were significantly impaired. Thus, this result offers a useful cell model to mimic the impaired anti-oxidant capacity in cigarette smoking-associated lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Blotting, Western, Bronchi, Cell Nucleus, Cytoplasm, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Epithelial Cells, Humans, Oxidative Stress, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sirtuin 1, Smoking