Indexed on: 19 Nov '11Published on: 19 Nov '11Published in: Sub-cellular biochemistry
A concerted balance between proliferation and apoptosis is essential to the survival of multicellular organisms. Thus, apoptosis per se, although it is a destructive process leading to the death of single cells, also serves as a pro-survival mechanism pro-survival mechanism that ensures healthy organismal development and acts as a life-prolonging or anti-aging anti-aging program. The discovery that yeast also possess a functional and, in many cases, highly conserved apoptotic machinery has made it possible to study the relationships between aging and apoptosis in depth using a well-established genetic system and the powerful tools available to yeast researchers for investigating complex physiological and cytological interactions. The aging process of yeast, be it replicative replicative or chronological chronological aging, is closely related to apoptosis, although it remains unclear whether apoptosis is a causal feature of the aging process or vice versa. Nevertheless, experimental results obtained during the past several years clearly demonstrate that yeast serve as a powerful and versatile experimental system for understanding the interconnections between these two fundamentally important cellular and physiological pathways.