A rapid, high-throughput method for determining chronological lifespan in budding yeast
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a major model system in the study of aging. Like metazoans, yeast lifespan is extended by caloric restriction and treatment with pharmacological agents which extend lifespan. A major workhorse of aging research in budding yeast is the chronological lifespan assay. Traditionally, chronological lifespan assays consist of taking regular samples of aging yeast cultures, plating out aliquots on agar, and counting the resulting colonies. This method, while highly reliable, is labor-intensive and expensive in terms of materials consumed. Here, we report a novel MTT-based method for assessing chronological lifespan in yeast. We show that this method is equal to the colony counting method in its rigorous and reliable measurement of lifespan extension in yeast as a result of caloric restriction, and is able to distinguish known long-lived and short-lived yeast strains. We have further developed this method into a high-throughput assay that allows rapid screening of potential anti-aging compounds as well as yeast strains with altered lifespan. Application of this method permits the rapid identification of anti-aging activities in yeast and may facilitate identification of materials with therapeutic potential for higher animals and, most importantly, humans.
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