Researchers review evidence supporting the importance of how nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is distributed to different cell structures in health, disease, and aging.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a vital molecule with many biological functions. The roles of NAD+ are organized and coordinated by how it is subdivided into different structures within cells. The distribution of this critical compound within the cell is key to understanding the impact of NAD+ on biological processes, diseases, and aging.
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Every cell is made up of a menagerie of molecules generated by a complex series of reactions that convert sugars into metabolic precursors, intermediate molecules that can be either used to generate energy or to synthesize the building blocks for cells and their components, and NAD+ serves an essential role in this process. When cells are lacking NAD+, they cannot produce energy or cellular components, and even moderate decreases in NAD+ levels can limit cell functions that depend on NAD+.
The levels of NAD+ floating around freely in cells are tightly controlled to precisely modulate signaling in cells. Dividing NAD+ into different cell components helps cells to time responses, communicate status, and protect crucial NAD+ pools.
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Because NAD+ is crucial for how organisms in all domains of life depend on energy and the building blocks of cells, NAD+ regulation is integral to every discipline and field of study in biology and medicine. “Not only are its chemistry and mechanisms part of the history of biochemistry, but its broad biological impact will undoubtedly also continue to bring together expertise across multiple disciplines in the future,” said the investigators. “The next wave of discoveries in NAD+ biology will be driven by collaborations among scientists with distinct skill sets.”
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