Artemisinin mimics calorie restriction to extend yeast lifespan via a dual-phase mode: a conclusion drawn from global transcriptome profiling

Da Ting Wang, Ming Wu, Si Ming LI, Qian Gao, Qing Ping Zeng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Calorie restriction (CR) promotes longevity among distinct organisms from yeast to mammals. Although CR-prolonged lifespan is believed to associate with enhanced respiratory activity, it is apparently controversial for accelerated energy consumption regardless of insufficient nutrient intake. In reconciling the contradiction of less food supply versus much metabolite dispense, we revealed a CR-based mode of dual-phase responses that encompass a phase of mitochondrial enhancement (ME) and a phase of post-mitochondrial enhancement (PME), which can be distinguished by the expression patterns and activity dynamics of mitochondrial signatures. ME is characterized by global antioxidative activation, and PME is denoted by systemic metabolic modulation. CR-mediated aging-delaying effects are replicated by artesunate, a semi-synthetic derivative of the antimalarial artemisinin that can alkylate heme-containing proteins, suggesting artesunate-heme conjugation functionally resembles nitric oxide-heme interaction. A correlation of artesunate-heme conjugation with cytochrome c oxidase activation has been established from adduct formation and activity alteration. Exogenous hydrogen peroxide also mimics CR to trigger antioxidant responses, affect signaling cascades, and alter respiratory rhythms, implying hydrogen peroxide is engaged in lifespan extension. Conclusively, artesunate mimics CR-triggered nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide to induce antioxidative networks for scavenging reactive oxygen species and mitigating oxidative stress, thereby directing metabolic conversion from anabolism to catabolism, maintaining essential metabolic functionality, and extending life expectancy in yeast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-465
Number of pages15
JournalScience China Life Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • artesunate
  • calorie restriction
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • longevity
  • nitric oxide
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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