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Yeast mother cell-specific ageing, genetic (in)stability, and the somatic mutation theory of ageing
AuthorLaun, Peter ; Bruschi, Carlo V. ; Dickinson, J. Richard ; Rinnerthaler, Mark ; Heeren, Gino ; Schwimbersky, Richard ; Rid, Raphaela ; Breitenbach, Michael
Published in
Nucleic Acids Research, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2007, Vol. 35, Issue 22, page 7514-7526
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)aging mutation / stem cells / dna / mothers / yeasts / genetics / life span / daughter
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-6080 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Yeast mother cell-specific ageing, genetic (in)stability, and the somatic mutation theory of ageing [2.13 mb]
Abstract (English)

Yeast mother cell-specific ageing is characterized by a limited capacity to produce daughter cells. The replicative lifespan is determined by the number of cell cycles a mother cell has undergone, not by calendar time, and in a population of cells its distribution follows the Gompertz law. Daughter cells reset their clock to zero and enjoy the full lifespan characteristic for the strain. This kind of replicative ageing of a cell population based on asymmetric cell divisions is investigated as a model for the ageing of a stem cell population in higher organisms. The simple fact that the daughter cells can reset their clock to zero precludes the accumulation of chromosomal mutations as the cause of ageing, because semiconservative replication would lead to the same mutations in the daughters. However, nature is more complicated than that because, (i) the very last daughters of old mothers do not reset the clock; and (ii) mutations in mitochondrial DNA could play a role in ageing due to the large copy number in the cell and a possible asymmetric distribution of damaged mitochondrial DNA between mother and daughter cell. Investigation of the loss of heterozygosity in diploid cells at the end of their mother cell-specific lifespan has shown that genomic rearrangements do occur in old mother cells. However, it is not clear if this kind of genomic instability is causative for the ageing process. Damaged material other than DNA, for instance misfolded, oxidized or otherwise damaged proteins, seem to play a major role in ageing, depending on the balance between production and removal through various repair processes, for instance several kinds of proteolysis and autophagy. We are reviewing here the evidence for genetic change and its causality in the mother cell-specific ageing process of yeast.