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A progressive loss of genome maintenance has been implicated as both a cause and consequence of aging. Here we present evidence supporting the hypothesis that an age-associated decay in genome maintenance promotes aging in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) due to an inability to sense or repair DNA damage by topoisomerase 2 (yTop2). We describe the characterization of LS1, identified in a high throughput screen for small molecules that shorten the replicative lifespan of yeast. LS1 accelerates aging without affecting proliferative growth or viability. Genetic and biochemical criteria reveal LS1 to be a weak Top2 poison. Top2 poisons induce the accumulation of covalent Top2-linked DNA double strand breaks that, if left unrepaired, lead to genome instability and death. LS1 is toxic to cells deficient in homologous recombination, suggesting that the damage it induces is normally mitigated by genome maintenance systems. The essential roles of yTop2 in proliferating cells may come with a fitness trade-off in older cells that are less able to sense or repair yTop2-mediated DNA damage. Consistent with this idea, cells live longer when yTop2 expression levels are reduced. These results identify intrinsic yTop2-mediated DNA damage as potentially manageable cause of aging.


Gregory Tombline, Jonathan I Millen, Bogdan Polevoda, Matan Rapaport, Bonnie Baxter, Michael Van Meter, Matthew Gilbertson, Joe Madrey, Gary A Piazza, Lynn Rasmussen, Krister Wennerberg, E Lucile White, John L Nitiss, David S Goldfarb. Effects of an unusual poison identify a lifespan role for Topoisomerase 2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Aging. 2017 Jan 05;9(1):68-97

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PMID: 28077781

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