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Department of Biochemistry

Nianshu Zhang

Stress response and ageing in yeast.


Caloric restriction (CR) without malnutrition extends lifespan in most model organisms tested, including rhesus monkeys. Their lifespan extension by CR is closely related to an enhanced ability to resist intrinsic and extrinsic stresses during adaptation to CR. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model, the Zhang Group intends to understand how starvation-induced stress response and metabolic reprogramming are integratively regulated, and how this regulation impacts on chronological lifespan.


Research objectives

  • How are nutrient starvation signals transmitted and converged to promote the stress response, metabolic reprogramming and entry into quiescence?

  • How are metabolic signals, such as those from mitochondrial metabolism, relayed to regulate the stress response and homeostasis?

  • At the systems-level, what is the genetic interaction network governing the stress response and chronological ageing?


Key publications

Zhang N, Cao L (2017). Starvation signals in yeast are integrated to coordinate metabolic reprogramming and stress response to ensure longevity. Curr. Genet., 63(5):839-843. doi: 10.1007/s00294-017-0697-4

Cao L, Tang Y, Quan Z, Zhang Z, Oliver SG, Zhang N (2016). Chronological lifespan in yeast is dependent on the accumulation of storage carbohydrates mediated by Yak1, Mck1 and Rim15 kinases. PLoS Genet., 12(12):e1006458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006458

Quan Z, Cao L, Tang Y, Yan Y, Oliver SG, Zhang N (2015). The yeast GSK-3 homologue Mck1 is a key controller of quiescence entry and chronological lifespan. PLoS Genet., 11(6):e1005282. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005282

Pacitto A, Ascher DB, Wong LH, Blaszczyk BK, Nookala RK, Zhang N, Dokudovskaya S, Levine TP, Blundell TL (2015). Lst4, the yeast Fnip1/2 orthologue, is a DENN-family protein. Open Biol., 5(12):150174. doi: 10.1098/rsob.150174

Zhang N, Quan Z, Rash B, Oliver SG (2013). Synergistic effects of TOR and proteasome pathways on the yeast transcriptome and cell growth. Open Biol., 3(5):120137. doi: 10.1098/rsob.120137

Contact details

Research Group Leader  Nianshu Zhang

Facility Website  Fermentation Facility Manager


Location  Sanger Building


The Zhang Group is accepting enquiries from prospective interns, undergraduate students, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.