SIRT6 rescues the age related decline in base excision repair in a PARP1-dependent manner

In principle, a decline in base excision repair (BER) efficiency with age should lead to genomic instability and ultimately contribute to the onset of the aging phenotype. Although multiple studies have indicated a negative link between aging and BER, the change of BER efficiency with age in humans has not been systematically analyzed. Here, with foreskin fibroblasts isolated from 19 donors between 20 and 64 y of age, we report a significant decline of BER efficiency with age using a newly developed GFP reactivation assay. We further observed a very strong negative correlation between age and the expression levels of SIRT6, a factor which is known to maintain genomic integrity by improving DNA double strand break (DSB) repair. Our mechanistic study suggests that, similar to the regulatory role that SIRT6 plays in DNA DSB repair, SIRT6 regulates BER in a PARP1-depdendent manner. Moreover, overexpression of SIRT6 rescues the decline of BER in aged fibroblasts. In summary, our results uncovered the regulatory mechanisms of BER by SIRT6, suggesting that SIRT6 reactivation in aging tissues may help delay the process of aging through improving BER.