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Synergistic effects of repair, resilience and retention of damage determine the conditions for replicative ageing

Journal article
Authors Johannes Borgqvist
Niek Welkenhuysen
Marija Cvijovic
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 10
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Language en
Subject categories Applied mathematics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology


© 2020, The Author(s). Accumulation of damaged proteins is a hallmark of ageing, occurring in organisms ranging from bacteria and yeast to mammalian cells. During cell division in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, damaged proteins are retained within the mother cell, resulting in an ageing mother while a new daughter cell exhibits full replicative potential. The cell-specific features determining the ageing remain elusive. It has been suggested that the replicative ageing is dependent on the ability of the cell to repair and retain pre-existing damage. To deepen the understanding of how these factors influence the life of individual cells, we developed and experimentally validated a dynamic model of damage accumulation accounting for replicative ageing on the single cell level. The model includes five essential properties: cell growth, damage formation, damage repair, cell division and cell death, represented in a theoretical framework describing the conditions allowing for replicative ageing, starvation, immortality or clonal senescence. We introduce the resilience to damage, which can be interpreted as the difference in volume between an old and a young cell. We show that the capacity to retain damage deteriorates with high age, that asymmetric division allows for retention of damage, and that there is a trade-off between retention and the resilience property. Finally, we derive the maximal degree of asymmetry as a function of resilience, proposing that asymmetric cell division is beneficial with respect to replicative ageing as it increases the lifespan of a given organism. The proposed model contributes to a deeper understanding of the ageing process in eukaryotic organisms.

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