LINE1 Derepression in Aged Wild-Type and SIRT6-Deficient Mice Drives Inflammation

Valeria Kogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


Mice deficient for SIRT6 exhibit a severely shortened lifespan, growth retardation, and highly elevated LINE1 (L1) activity. Here we report that SIRT6-deficient cells and tissues accumulate abundant cytoplasmic L1 cDNA, which triggers strong type I interferon response via activation of cGAS. Remarkably, nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which inhibit L1 retrotransposition, significantly improved health and lifespan of SIRT6 knockout mice and completely rescued type I interferon response. In tissue culture, inhibition of L1 with siRNA or NRTIs abrogated type I interferon response, in addition to a significant reduction of DNA damage markers. These results indicate that L1 activation contributes to the pathologies of SIRT6 knockout mice. Similarly, L1 transcription, cytoplasmic cDNA copy number, and type I interferons were elevated in the wild-type aged mice. As sterile inflammation is a hallmark of aging, we propose that modulating L1 activity may be an important strategy for attenuating age-related pathologies. Simon et al. show that LINE1 retrotransposon elements are derepressed in aged and progeroid mice. Cytoplasmic accumulation of LINE1 cDNA copies induced a type I interferon response, through the cGAS DNA sensing pathway, resulting in pathological inflammation. Inhibiting L1 replication significantly improved the health and lifespan of aged mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-885.e5
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • SIRT6
  • aging
  • longevity
  • nucleotide reverse-transcriptase inhibitors
  • retrotransposition


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