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Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Oct;2(10):643-9.

The sweet taste of death: glucose triggers apoptosis during yeast chronological aging.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Austria.


As time goes by, a postmitotic cell ages following a degeneration process ultimately ending in cell death. This phenomenon is evolutionary conserved and present in unicellular eukaryotes as well, making the yeast chronological aging system an appreciated model. Here, single cells die in a programmed fashion (both by apoptosis and necrosis) for the benefit of the whole population. Besides its meaning for aging and cell death research, age-induced programmed cell death represents the first experimental proof for the so-called group selection theory: Apoptotic genes became selected during evolution because of the benefits they might render to the whole cell culture and not to the individual cell. Many anti‐aging stimuli have been discovered in the yeast chronological aging system and have afterwards been confirmed in higher cells or organisms. New work from the Burhans group (this issue) now demonstrates that glucose signaling has a progeriatric effect on chronologically aged yeast cells: Glucose administration results in a diminished efficacy of cells to enter quiescence, finally causing superoxide‐mediated replication stress and apoptosis.

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