Factors extending the chronological lifespan of yeast: Ecl1 family genes

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Ecl1 family genes are conserved among yeast, in which their overexpression extends chronological lifespan. Ecl1 family genes were first identified in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe; at the time, they were considered noncoding RNA owing to their short coding sequence of fewer than 300 base pairs. Schizosaccharomyces pombe carries three Ecl1 family genes, ecl1+, ecl2+ and ecl3+, whereas Saccharomyces cerevisiae has one, ECL1. Their overexpression extends chronological lifespan, increases oxidative stress resistance and induces sexual development in fission yeast. A recent study indicated that Ecl1 family genes play a significant role in responding to environmental zinc or sulfur depletion. In this review, we focus on Ecl1 family genes in fission yeast and describe the relationship between nutritional depletion and cellular output, as the latter depends on Ecl1 family genes. Furthermore, we present the roles and functions of Ecl1 family genes characterized to date.

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