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Aging Cell. 2010 Oct;9(5):868-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2010.00618.x.

Genome-wide screen identifies Escherichia coli TCA-cycle-related mutants with extended chronological lifespan dependent on acetate metabolism and the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor ArcA.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


Single-gene mutants with extended lifespan have been described in several model organisms. We performed a genome-wide screen for long-lived mutants in Escherichia coli, which revealed strains lacking tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-cycle-related genes that exhibit longer stationary-phase survival and increased resistance to heat stress compared to wild-type. Extended lifespan in the sdhA mutant, lacking subunit A of succinate dehydrogenase, is associated with the reduced production of superoxide and increased stress resistance. On the other hand, the longer lifespan of the lipoic acid synthase mutant (lipA) is associated with reduced oxygen consumption and requires the acetate-producing enzyme pyruvate oxidase, as well as acetyl-CoA synthetase, the enzyme that converts extracellular acetate to acetyl-CoA. The hypoxia-inducible transcription factor ArcA, acting independently of acetate metabolism, is also required for maximum lifespan extension in the lipA and lpdA mutants, indicating that these mutations promote entry into a mode normally associated with a low-oxygen environment. Because analogous changes from respiration to fermentation have been observed in long-lived Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans strains, such metabolic alterations may represent an evolutionarily conserved strategy to extend lifespan.

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