Fission Yeast Does Not Age under Favorable Conditions, but Does So after Stress

Miguel Coelho, Aygül Dereli, Anett Haese, Sebastian Kühn, Liliana Malinovska, Morgan de Santis, James Shorter, Thilo Gross, Iva Tolic-Nørrelykke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
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Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. In budding yeast, asymmetric segregation of cellular damage results in aging mother cells and rejuvenated daughters. We hypothesize that the organisms in which this asymmetry is lacking, or can be modulated, may not undergo aging.


We performed a complete pedigree analysis of microcolonies of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe growing from a single cell. When cells were grown under favorable conditions, none of the lineages exhibited aging, which is defined as a consecutive increase in division time and increased death probability. Under favorable conditions, few cells died, and their death was random and sudden rather than following a gradual increase in division time. Cell death correlated with the inheritance of Hsp104-associated protein aggregates. After stress, the cells that inherited large aggregates aged, showing a consecutive increase in division time and an increased death probability. Their sisters, who inherited little or no aggregates, did not age.


We conclude that S. pombe does not age under favorable growth conditions, but does so under stress. This transition appears to be passive rather than active and results from the formation of a single large aggregate, which segregates asymmetrically at the subsequent cell division. We argue that this damage-induced asymmetric segregation has evolved to sacrifice some cells so that others may survive unscathed after severe environmental stresses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1844-1852
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number19
Early online date12 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013


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