A genetic analysis of nitric oxide-mediated signaling during chronological aging in the yeast

Biogerontology. 2011 Aug;12(4):309-20. doi: 10.1007/s10522-011-9329-4. Epub 2011 Mar 19.


In mammals, NO(•), a signaling molecule is implicated in the regulation of vasodilation, neurotransmission and immune response. It is believed that NO(•) is a signaling molecule also in unicellular organism like yeast and may be involved in the regulation of apoptosis and sporulation. It has been reported that NO(•) is produced during chronological aging (CA) leading to an increase of the superoxide level, which in turn mediates apoptosis. Since this conclusion was based on indirect measurements of NO(•) by the Griess reaction, the role of NO(•) signaling during CA in the yeast remains uncertain. We investigated this issue more precisely using different genetic and biochemical methodologies. We used cells lacking the factors influencing nitrosative stress response like flavohemoglobin metabolizing NO(•), S-nitrosoglutathione reductase metabolizing S-nitrosoglutathione and the transcription factor Fzf1p mediating NO(•) response. We measured the standard parameters describing CA and found an elevation in the superoxide level, percentage of death cells, the level of TUNEL positive cells and a decrease in proliferating potential. These observations showed no significant differences between wild type cells and the disruptants except for a small elevation of the superoxide level in the Δsfa1 mutant. The intracellular NO(•) level and flavohemoglobin expression decreased rather than increased during CA. Products of general nitrogen metabolism and protein tyrosine nitration were slightly decreased during CA, the magnitude of changes showing no differences between the wild type and the mutant yeast. Altogether, our data indicate that apoptosis during yeast CA is mediated by superoxide signaling rather than NO(•) signaling.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Dioxygenases / genetics
  • Dioxygenases / metabolism
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Hemeproteins / genetics
  • Hemeproteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • FZF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Hemeproteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Superoxides
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Dioxygenases
  • YHB1 protein, S cerevisiae