SIR2 and other genes are abundantly expressed in long-lived natural segregants for replicative aging of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae


  • Editor: David Goldfarb

Correspondence: Jeffrey P. Townsend, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, PO Box 208106, 165 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Tel.: +1 860 371 8693; fax: +1 203 432 3854; e-mail:


We investigated the mechanism underlying the natural variation in longevity within natural populations using the model budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We analyzed whole-genome gene expression in four progeny of a natural S. cerevisiae strain that display differential replicative aging. Genes with different expression levels in short- and long-lived strains were classified disproportionately into metabolism, transport, development, transcription or cell cycle, and organelle organization (mitochondrial, chromosomal, and cytoskeletal). With several independent validating experiments, we detected 15 genes with consistent differential expression levels between the long- and the short-lived progeny. Among those 15, SIR2, HSP30, and TIM17 were upregulated in long-lived strains, which is consistent with the known effects of gene silencing, stress response, and mitochondrial function on aging. The link between SIR2 and yeast natural life span variation offers some intriguing ties to the allelic association of the human homolog SIRT1 to visceral obesity and metabolic response to lifestyle intervention.