DOI: 10.1111/gtc.13089 ISSN: 1356-9597

Acidic growth conditions stabilize the ribosomal RNA gene cluster and extend lifespan through noncoding transcription repression

Yo Hasegawa, Hiroyuki Ooka, Tsuyoshi Wakatsuki, Mariko Sasaki, Ayumi Yamamoto, Takehiko Kobayashi
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics


Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) is a classical fruit that has long been used to make juice, jam, and liqueur. Blackcurrant extract is known to relieve cells from DNA damage caused by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), methyl methane sulfonate (MMS), and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. We found that blackcurrant extract (BCE) stabilizes the ribosomal RNA gene cluster (rDNA), one of the most unstable regions in the genome, through repression of noncoding transcription in the intergenic spacer (IGS) which extended the lifespan in budding yeast. Reduced formation of extrachromosomal circles (ERCs) after exposure to fractionated BCE suggested that acidity of the growth medium impacted rDNA stability. Indeed, alteration of the acidity of the growth medium to pH ~4.5 by adding HCl increased rDNA stability and extended the lifespan. We identified RPD3 as the gene responsible for this change, which was mediated by the RPD3L histone deacetylase complex. In mammals, as inflammation sites in a tissue are acidic, DNA maintenance may be similarly regulated to prevent genome instability from causing cancer.

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