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The role of metal metabolism and heat shock protein genes on replicative lifespan of the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae



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A variety of genes that influence aging have been identified in a broad selection of organisms including Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast), Caenorhabditis elegans (worms), Drosophila (fruit flies), Macaca Mulatta (rhesus monkeys), and even Homo sapiens. Many of these genes, such the TOR’s, FOXO’s, AKT’s, and S6K’s are conserved across different organisms. All of these genes participate in nutrient sensing networks. Other conserved genetic networks may similarly affect lifespan. In this thesis, I explored genes from an iron metabolism family and a heat shock protein (HSP) gene family that have been identified, but not confirmed, to influence lifespan. Yeast is a reliable model for mitotic (replicative) aging. Using yeast, I tested whether the FET-genes, encoding a family of iron importer-related genes, are required for mitotic lifespan. I also tested whether another family of genes, the yeast SSA HSP70- encoding genes, related to mammalian HSP70s, influence mitotic aging. I primarily used the replicative lifespan (RLS) assay, in which I measured the mitotic capacity of multiple FET and SSA yeast mutants. I hypothesize that aging occurs when iron transport is misregulated, which may lead to an over-reliance on HSPs for lifespan maintenance. The results presented in this thesis support the hypothesis. First, FET3 was primarily involved in lifespan maintenance under normal conditions (2% glucose), while FET5 was primarily involved in the cellular lifespan extension characteristic of caloric restriction (0.01% glucose), a known anti-aging intervention. In addition, SSA2 appeared to facilitate lifespan maintenance in the absence of FET4, while the presence of SSA1 limited lifespan length. That the aging genes identified in this study are involved in iron metabolism or heat stress suggests that protein aggregation or reactive oxidative species production are common processes through which these genes interact.



Yeast, Aging, Replicative Lifespan, Metal Metabolism, Heat Shock Proteins, FET, SSA



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Anatomy and Cell Biology


Anatomy and Cell Biology


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