Theses Doctoral

Asymmetric Mitochondrial Inheritance and Retention in the Regulation of Aging in S. cerevisiae

Pernice, Wolfgang Maximilian

Both an intuitive observation and maybe the most mysterious process of biology, aging describes the progressive deterioration of cellular functions with time. Asymmetric cell divisions stand at the center of ability to reset age in offspring and for stem cells to self-renew. This requires the asymmetric segregation of age-determinants, many of which have been identified in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
We here use budding yeast to explore fundamental aspects underlying the asymmetric inheritance of mitochondria and the concurrent rejuvenation of daughter cells. We show that in addition to the preferential inheritance of high-functioning mitochondria to daughter cells, a distinct population of high-quality organelles must also be retained within the mother cell. We find that both physical retention and qualitative maintenance of a distinct mitochondrial population at the mother cell tip depends on Mitochondrial F-box protein (Mfb1p) and that MFB1-deletion leads to premature aging. Our findings outline a critical balance between the need for daughter cell rejuvenation and the requirement to conserve replicative potential within the mother cell.
The particular mechanism by which Mfb1p functions further lead us to uncover a critical role of globally maintained cellular polarity in form of an axial budding pattern in lifespan regulation, the functional significance of which thus far remained essentially unexplored. We also find that the asymmetric localization of Mfb1p depends on potentially novel structures of the actin cytoskeleton and the loss of Mfb1p-polarization with age may accurately predict remaining cellular lifespan.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine
Thesis Advisors
Pon, Liza A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 2, 2016