Oxygen availability strongly affects chronological lifespan and thermotolerance in batch cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Journal article, 2015

Stationary-phase (SP) batch cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in which growth has been arrested by carbon-source depletion, are widely applied to study chronological lifespan, quiescence and SP-associated robustness. Based on this type of experiments, typically performed under aerobic conditions, several roles of oxygen in aging have been proposed. However, SP in anaerobic yeast cultures has not been investigated in detail. Here, we use the unique capability of S. cerevisiae to grow in the complete absence of oxygen to directly compare SP in aerobic and anaerobic bioreactor cultures. This comparison revealed strong positive effects of oxygen availability on adenylate energy charge, longevity and thermotolerance during SP. A low thermotolerance of anaerobic batch cultures was already evident during the exponential growth phase and, in contrast to the situation in aerobic cultures, was not substantially increased during transition into SP. A combination of physiological and transcriptome analysis showed that the slow post-diauxic growth phase on ethanol, which precedes SP in aerobic, but not in anaerobic cultures, endowed cells with the time and resources needed for inducing longevity and thermotolerance. When combined with literature data on acquisition of longevity and thermotolerance in retentostat cultures, the present study indicates that the fast transition from glucose excess to SP in anaerobic cultures precludes acquisition of longevity and thermotolerance. Moreover, this study demonstrates the importance of a preceding, calorie-restricted conditioning phase in the acquisition of longevity and stress tolerance in SP yeast cultures, irrespective of oxygen availability.



Chronological lifespan


Stationary phase

Transcriptional response



Mark Bisschops

Delft University of Technology

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Tim Vos

Delft University of Technology

Rubén Martínez-Moreno

Quercus Europe s.l.

University of La Rioja

Pilar de la Torre Cortés

Delft University of Technology

J. Pronk

Delft University of Technology

P. Daran-Lapujade

Delft University of Technology

Microbial Cell

23112638 (eISSN)

Vol. 2 11 429-444

Subject Categories

Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics

Other Chemical Engineering

Condensed Matter Physics



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