Calorie restriction (CR) is an intervention known to extend the lifespan of a wide variety of organisms. In S. cerevisiae, chronological lifespan is prolonged by decreasing glucose availability in the culture media, a model for CR. The mechanism has been proposed to involve an increase in the oxidative (versus fermentative) metabolism of glucose. Here, we measured wild-type and respiratory incompetent (rho(0)) S. cerevisiae biomass formation, pH, oxygen and glucose consumption, and the evolution of ethanol, glycerol, acetate, pyruvate and succinate levels during the course of 28 days of chronological aging, aiming to identify metabolic changes responsible for the effects of CR. The concomitant and quantitative measurements allowed for calculations of conversion factors between different pairs of substrates and products, maximum specific substrate consumption and product formation rates and maximum specific growth rates. Interestingly, we found that the limitation of glucose availability in CR S. cerevisiae cultures hysteretically increases oxygen consumption rates many hours after the complete exhaustion of glucose from the media. Surprisingly, glucose-to-ethanol conversion and cellular growth supported by glucose were not quantitatively altered by CR. Instead, we found that CR primed the cells for earlier, faster and more efficient metabolism of respiratory substrates, especially ethanol. Since lifespan-enhancing effects of CR are absent in respiratory incompetent rho(0) cells, we propose that the hysteretic effect of glucose limitation on oxidative metabolism is central toward chronological lifespan extension by CR in this yeast.
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