Nicotinamide Riboside: From Discovery to Human Translation

Molecules related to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) are the central mediators of essentially all metabolic processes including converting fuels to energy, generating and repairing DNA, producing lipids and steroid hormones, and regulating the expression and activity of genes and proteins. Despite our body’s best attempts to maintain homeostasis of NAD and related co-enzymes, these molecules are under attack in conditions of metabolic stress including diabesity, alcoholism, DNA damage, free radical stress, time zone disruption, heart failure and neurodegeneration. The most extreme form of NAD deficiency, pellagra, can be prevented by 15 mg/day of either of two B3 vitamins discovered in 1938. In 2004, we discovered nicotinamide riboside (NR) as an unanticipated vitamin precursor of NAD in the course of testing the wiring diagram of NAD synthesis in yeast. We went on to identify and characterize several new genes, enzymes, metabolites and transporters involved in NAD homeostasis and developed quantitative targeted NAD metabolomics to characterize regulation and dysregulation of the NAD system in health and disease. We and our collaborators have used these two orthogonal tools: targeted NAD metabolomics and targeted NAD transcriptomics to discover that genes and metabolites in the NAD system are dysregulated in obesity, diabetic and chemotherapeutic neuropathy, heart failure and central brain injury. In addition, we have shown that provision of oral NR is protective in rodent models each of these conditions by virtue of sustained and stress-induced expression of the NR kinase genes. In parallel, we have served as the adviser for NR commercialization, which required intellectual property protection, a clean scalable synthesis, toxicology, review by the US Food & Drug Administration and its international equivalents, and early stage clinical testing. These trans-disciplinary activities collectively enabled further clinical testing, development and investment in discovery science.

Our current research interests in NAD involve a genotype-specific cancer strategy, the mechanism and development of NR-based neuroprotection, and characterization of the maternal and neonatal effects of NR. Our main developmental interest is in miniaturizing targeted NAD metabolome diagnostics for more widespread applications to human health.

Selected Publications

P. Bieganowski & C. Brenner, "Discoveries of Nicotinamide Riboside as a Nutrient and Conserved NRK Genes Establish a Preiss-Handler Independent Route to NAD+ in Fungi and Humans," Cell, v. 117, pp. 495-502 (2004). Download pdf reprint.

P. Belenky, K.L. Bogan & C. Brenner, "NAD+ Metabolism in Health and Disease," Trends in Biochemical Sciences, v. 32, pp. 12-19 (2007). Download pdf reprint.

P. Belenky, F.G. Racette, K.L. Bogan, J.M. McClure, J.S. Smith & C. Brenner, "Nicotinamide Riboside Promotes Sir2 Silencing and Extends Lifespan via Nrk and Urh1/Pnp1/Meu1 Pathways to NAD+," Cell, v. 129, pp. 473-484 (2007). Download pdf reprint and supplementary data. Read Leading Edge Preview in CellResearch Highlights in Nature and Spotlight in ACS Chemical Biology.

W. Tempel, W.M. Rabeh, K.L. Bogan, P. Belenky, M. Wojcik, H.F. Seidle, L. Nedyalkova, T. Yang, A.A. Sauve, H.-W. Park & C. Brenner, "Nicotinamide Riboside Kinase Structures Reveal New Pathways to NAD+," PLoS Biology, v. 5, issue 10, e263 (2007). View Nrk1-ADPNrk1-NRNrk1-AppNHp+NRNrk1-NMN, and Nrk1-tiazofurin entries at the Protein Data Bank. Download pdf reprint and supporting information.

K.L. Bogan & C. Brenner, "Nicotinic Acid, Nicotinamide, and Nicotinamide Riboside: A Molecular Evaluation of NAD+ Precursor Vitamins in Human Nutrition," Ann Review Nutrition, v. 28, pp. 115-130 (2008). Download pdf reprint.

S. Ghanta, R.E. Grossmann & C. Brenner, "Mitochondrial protein acetylation as a cell-intrinsic, evolutionary driver of fat storage: chemical and metabolic logic of acetyl-lysine modifications" Critical Rev Biochem & Mol Biol, v. 48, pp. 561-574, 2013. Download pdf PDF iconreprint.

S.-C. Mei & C. Brenner, "Quantification of Protein Copy Number in Yeast: the NAD+ Metabolome," PLoS One v. 9, e106496 (2014). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106496. Download pdf PDF iconreprint

 S.-C. Mei & C. Brenner, "Calorie Restriction-Mediated Replicative Lifespan Extension in Yeast Is Non-Cell Autonomous," PLoS Biology, v. 13, e1002048 (2015). Download pdf PDF iconreprint

S.A.J. Trammell, B.J.Weidemann, A.Chadda, M.S. Yorek, A. Holmes, L.J.Coppey, A. Obrosov, R.H. Kardon, M.A. Yorek & C. Brenner, “Nicotinamide Riboside Opposes Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy in Mice,” Scientific Reports, v. 6, 26933 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep26933. Download pdf PDF iconreprint

S.A.J Trammell, M.S. Schmidt, B.J. Weidemann, P. Redpath, F. Jaksch, R.W. Dellinger, Z. Li, E.D. Abel, M.E. Migaud & C. Brenner, "Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans." Nat Commun. v. 7, pp. 12948 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12948. Download pdf PDF iconreprint

J. Ratajczak, M. Joffraud, S.A.J. Trammell, R. Ras, N. Canela, M. Boutant, S.S. Kulkarni, M. Rodrigues, P. Redpath, M.E. Migaud, J. Auwerx, O. Yanes, C. Brenner & C. Canto, "NRK1 controls nicotinamide mononucleotide and nicotinamide riboside metabolism in mammalian cells." Nat Commun. v. 7, pp. 13103 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13103. Download pdf PDF iconreprint.

M.V. Hamity, S.R. White, R.Y. Walder, M.S. Schmidt, C. Brenner & D.L. Hammond, “Nicotinamide Riboside, a Form of Vitamin B3 and NAD+ Precursor, Relieves the Nociceptive and Aversive Dimensions of Paclitaxel-induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Female Rats,” Pain, v. 158, pp. 962–972 (2017). DOI:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000862. Download PDF PDF iconreprint.

P. Vaur, B. Brugg, M. Mericskay, Z. Li, M.S. Schmidt, D. Vivien, C. Orset, E. Jacotot, C. Brenner & E. Duplus, “Nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3, protects against excitotoxicity-induced axonal degeneration,” FASEB Journal (2017). DOI: 10.1096/fj.201700221RR. Download PDF PDF iconreprint.

S. Sato, G. Solanas, F.O. Peixoto, L. Bee, A. Symeonidi, M.S. Schmidt, C. Brenner, S. Masri, S.A. Benitah &  P. Sassone-Corsi, “Circadian Reprogramming Identifies Metabolic Pathways of Aging,” Cell, v. 170(4), pp. 664-677 (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.07.042. Download PDF PDF iconreprint.

N. Diguet, S.A.J. Trammell, C. Tannous, R. Deloux, J. Piquereau, N. Mougenot, A. Gouge, M. Gressette, B. Manoury, J. Blanc, M. Breton, J.F. Decaux, G. Lavery, I. Baczkó, J. Zoll, A. Garnier, Z. Li, C. Brenner, M. Mericskay, "Nicotinamide Riboside Preserves Cardiac Function in a Mouse Model of Dilated Cardiomyopathy," Circulation, v. 137 (6), in press (2018). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.026099.