Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 294, Issue 6, pp 1499–1509 | Cite as

Leucine depletion extends the lifespans of leucine-auxotrophic fission yeast by inducing Ecl1 family genes via the transcription factor Fil1

  • Hokuto Ohtsuka
  • Takanori Kato
  • Teppei Sato
  • Takafumi Shimasaki
  • Takaaki Kojima
  • Hirofumi AibaEmail author
Original Article


Many studies show that lifespans of various model organisms can be extended by limiting the quantities of nutrients that are necessary for proliferation. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the Ecl1 family genes have been associated with lifespan control and are necessary for cell responses to nutrient depletion, but their functions and mechanisms of action remain uncharacterized. Herein, we show that leucine depletion extends the chronological lifespan (CLS) of leucine-auxotrophic cells. Furthermore, depletion of leucine extended CLS and caused cell miniaturization and cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase, and all of these processes depended on Ecl1 family genes. Although depletion of leucine raises the expression of ecl1+ by about 100-fold in leucine-auxotrophic cells, these conditions did not affect ecl1+ expression in leucine-auxotrophic fil1 mutants that were isolated in deletion set screens using 79 mutants disrupting a transcription factor. Fil1 is a GATA-type zinc finger transcription factor that reportedly binds directly to the upstream regions of ecl1+ and ecl2+. Accordingly, we suggest that Ecl1 family genes are induced in response to environmental stresses, such as oxidative stress and heat stress, or by nutritional depletion of nitrogen or sulfur sources or the amino acid leucine. We also propose that these genes play important roles in the maintenance of cell survival until conditions that favor proliferation are restored.


Ecl1 family gene ecl1+ fil1+ Chronological lifespan Leucine Fission yeast 



The authors thank M. Takinami and K. Kanie for helpful discussion, J. Mata for providing permission to use ChIP-sequence data, and M. Yamamoto for the yeast strains. Some S. pombe strains were provided by the National Bio-Resource Project (NBRP) (YGRC) of the MEXT, Japan. The authors would like to thank Enago ( for the English language review.


This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP16K07662 (to HO), and JP17K19227 and JP17H03792 (to HA). This work was also supported by the Institute for Fermentation, Osaka (to HA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1067 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular Biotechnology, Graduate School of Bioagricultural SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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