An intervention resembling caloric restriction prolongs life span and retards aging in yeast

FASEB J. 2000 Nov;14(14):2135-7. doi: 10.1096/fj.00-0242fje.


The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a finite life span that is measured by the number of daughter cells an individual produces. The 20 genes known to determine yeast life span appear to function in more than one pathway, implicating a variety of physiological processes in yeast longevity. Less attention has been focused on environmental effects on yeast aging. We have examined the role that nutritional status plays in determining yeast life span. Reduction of the glucose concentration in the medium led to an increase in life span and to a delay in appearance of an aging phenotype. The increase in life span was the more extensive the lower the glucose levels. Life extension was also elicited by decreasing the amino acids content of the medium. This suggests that it is the decline in calories and not a particular nutrient that is responsible, in striking similarity to the effect on aging of caloric restriction in mammals. The caloric restriction effect did not require the induction of the retrograde response pathway, which signals the functional status of the mitochondrion and determines longevity. Furthermore, deletion of RTG3, a downstream mediator in this pathway, and caloric restriction had an additive effect, resulting in the largest increase (123%) in longevity described thus far in yeast. Thus, retrograde response and caloric restriction operate along distinct pathways in determining yeast longevity. These pathways may be exclusive, at least in part. This provides evidence for multiple mechanisms of metabolic control in yeast aging. Inasmuch as caloric restriction lowers blood glucose levels, this study raises the possibility that reduced glucose alters aging at the cellular level in mammals.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Energy Intake
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Amino Acids
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Culture Media
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RTG1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • RTG2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • RTG3 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Glucose