Cellular senescence is determined by multiple factors, including the genetic regulation of metabolism and responses to endogenous and exogenous stresses [1-4]. Recent studies implicate a limited number of gene products in elongating lifespan in yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans [2-4]; these include the C, elegans gene cik-1, a central regulator of metabolism , and yeast RAS2, which controls the response to ultraviolet irradiation and other stresses . Another gene postulated to effect senescence is PHB1, the yeast homologue of prohibitin , a rodent gene initially identified as a potential regulator of growth arrest and tumour suppressor [6-8]. Highly conserved prohibitin homologues have been identified in mammals , Drosophila , C. elegans , plants  and yeast. A second mammalian gene, encoding BAP37, a protein with sequence similarity to prohibitin, is thought to be involved in lymphocyte function . Here, we show that the nuclear-encoded mammalian prohibitin and BAP37 proteins are present in mitochondria, are co-expressed, and interact physically with each other. Deletion of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homologues, PHB1 and PHB2, results in a decreased replicative lifespan and a defect in mitochondrial membrane potential. Our observations highlight the relationship between the metabolic efficiency of cells and the ageing process, and provide evidence for its evolutionary conservation.