Reproductive potential and instability of the rDNA region of theSaccharomyces cerevisiaeyeast: Common or separate mechanisms of regulation?

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The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a unicellular organism commonly used as a model to explain mechanisms of aging in multicellular organisms. It is used as a model organism for both replicative and chronological aging. Replicative aging is defined as the number of daughter cells produced by an individual cell during its life. A widely accepted hypothesis assumes that replicative aging of yeast is related to the existence of a so called “senescence factor” that gradually accumulates in the mother cell, which consequently leads to its death. One of the earliest proposed “senescence factors” were extrachromosomal rDNA circles (ERCs). However, their role in the regulation of the replicative lifespan is somewhat controversial and subject to discussion. In this paper, we propose a more comprehensive approach to this problem by analysing the length of life and the correlation between the cell size and the replicative lifespan of yeast cells with different level of ERCs, i.e. Δrad52 and Δsgs1 mutants. This analysis shows that it is not the accumulation of ERCs but genomic instability and hypertrophy that play an important role in the regulation of reproductive potential and total lifespan of the S. cerevisiae yeast. However, these two factors have a different impact on various phases of the yeast cell life, i.e. reproductive and post-reproductive phases.

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