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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 23;107(8):3540-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911055107. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Synergistic roles of the proteasome and autophagy for mitochondrial maintenance and chronological lifespan in fission yeast.

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Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Uruma, Okinawa 904-2234, Japan.


Regulations of proliferation and quiescence in response to nutritional cues are important for medicine and basic biology. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe serves as a model, owing to the shift of proliferating cells to the metabolically active quiescence (designate G0 phase hereafter) by responding to low nitrogen source. S. pombe G0 phase cells keep alive for months without growth and division. Nitrogen replenishment reinstates vegetative proliferation phase (designate VEG). Some 40 genes required for G0 maintenance were identified, but many more remain to be identified. We here show, using mutants, that the proteasome is required for maintaining G0 quiescence. Functional outcomes of proteasome in G0 and VEG phases appear to be distinct. Upon proteasome dysfunction, a number of antioxidant proteins and compounds responsive to ROS (reactive oxygen species) are produced. In addition, autophagy-mediated destruction of mitochondria occurs, which suppresses the loss of viability by eliminating ROS-generating mitochondria. These defensive responses are found in G0 but not in VEG, suggesting that the main function of proteasome in G0 phase homeostasis is to minimize ROS. Proteasome and autophagy are thus collaborative to support the lifespan of S. pombe G0 phase.

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