Gene expression changes in response to aging, heat stress, hyperoxia, hydrogen peroxide, and ionizing radiation were compared using microarrays. A set of 18 genes were up-regulated across all conditions, indicating a general stress response shared with aging, including the heat shock protein (Hsp) genes Hsp70, Hsp83 and l(2)efl, the glutathione-S-transferase gene GstD2, and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mUPR) gene ref(2)P. Selected gene expression changes were confirmed using quantitative PCR, Northern analysis and GstD-GFP reporter constructs. Certain genes were altered in only a subset of the conditions, for example, up-regulation of numerous developmental pathway and signaling genes in response to hydrogen peroxide. While aging shared features with each stress, aging was more similar to the stresses most associated with oxidative stress (hyperoxia, hydrogen peroxide, ionizing radiation) than to heat stress. Aging is associated with down-regulation of numerous mitochondrial genes, including electron-transport-chain (ETC) genes and mitochondrial metabolism genes, and a sub-set of these changes was also observed upon hydrogen peroxide stress and ionizing radiation stress. Aging shared the largest number of gene expression changes with hyperoxia. The extensive down-regulation of mitochondrial and ETC genes during aging is consistent with an aging-associated failure in mitochondrial maintenance, which may underlie the oxidative stress-like and proteotoxic stress-like responses observed during aging.