• Open Access

Calorie restriction reduces rDNA recombination independently of rDNA silencing


Alan Morgan, Department of Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Crown St., PO Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK. Tel.: +44 151 794 5333; fax: +44 151 794 5337; e-mail: amorgan@liverpool.ac.uk


Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan in yeast, worms, flies and mammals, suggesting that it acts via a conserved mechanism. In yeast, activation of the NAD-dependent histone deacetylase, Sir2, by CR is thought to increase silencing at the ribosomal DNA, thereby reducing the recombination-induced generation of extrachromosomal rDNA circles, hence increasing replicative lifespan. Although accumulation of extrachromosomal rDNA circles is specific to yeast aging, it is thought that Sirtuin activation represents a conserved longevity mechanism through which the beneficial effects of CR are mediated in various species. We show here that growing yeast on 0.05 or 0.5% glucose (severe and moderate CR, respectively) does not increase silencing at either sub-telomeric or rDNA loci compared with standard (2% glucose) media. Furthermore, rDNA silencing was unaffected in the hxk2Δ, sch9Δ and tor1Δ genetic mimics of CR, but inhibited by FOB1 deletion. All these interventions extend lifespan in multiple yeast backgrounds, revealing a poor correlation between rDNA silencing and longevity. In contrast, CR and deletion of the FOB1, HXK2, SCH9 and TOR1 genes, all significantly reduced rDNA recombination. This silencing-independent mechanism for suppressing rDNA recombination may therefore contribute to CR-mediated lifespan extension.