Chemistry Professor Scott Ulrich was listed as a co-author on a paper published this week in the journal Science, titled Suppression of Oxidative Stress by β-Hydroxybutyrate, an Endogenous Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor.
The work was headed by Eric Verdin’s lab of the Gladstone Institute of the University of California. The results show a new link between metabolic state and the control of gene expression. The results show that the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate, produced during calorie restriction and strenuous exercise, is an endogenous and specific inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDACs), a class of enzymes that regulate gene expression. In this case, β-hydroxybutyrate influences the expression of genes which protect against oxidative stress. This result may inform the link between extended lifespan and calorie-restricted diets in mice, and the benefits of exercise; both of which cause levels of D-β-hydroxybutyrate to rise.