The applicability of the free radical theory of aging to the yeast S. cerevisiae is a matter of debate. In order to get an insight into this question, we studied the reproductive potential (the number of buds produced), reproductive lifespan (the time during which a yeast cell is able to divide), postreproductive lifespan (duration of life of yeast cells which ceased to divide) and total lifespan (sum of reproductive lifespan and postreproductive lifespan) of three isogenic pairs of yeast strains. Each pair contained a parent strain and a disruptant of gene(s) coding for important antioxidant enzyme( s) (CuZn-superoxide dismutase, all five peroxiredoxins or glutaredoxin 5). Although the reproductive potential was decreased in all antioxidant enzyme-deficient mutants, the differences in the reproductive lifespan between the parent strains and the mutants were less pronounced while postreproductive lifespan and total lifespan were not diminished in the mutants. These results suggest that either the free-radical theory of aging is not applicable to S. cerevisiae or that this yeast is not a proper model organism for the study of aging of higher organisms. In our opinion the latter possibility is more apparent and the increase in cell volume (unavoidable for a cell propagating by budding) rather than accumulation of oxidative damage may be the main reason for the cessation of budding (and perhaps postreproductive death) in S. cerevisiae.
Keywords: Aging, yeast, S. cerevisiae, lifespan, postreproductive lifespan
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