Publication — IRIC
What programs the size of animal cells?
The human body is programmed with definite quantities, magnitudes, and proportions. At the microscopic level, such definite sizes manifest in individual cells – different cell types are characterized by distinct cell sizes whereas cells of the same type are highly uniform in size. How do cells in a population maintain uniformity in cell size, and how are changes in target size programmed? A convergence of recent and historical studies suggest – just as a thermostat maintains room temperature – the size of proliferating animal cells is similarly maintained by homeostatic mechanisms. In this review, we first summarize old and new literature on the existence of cell size checkpoints, then discuss additional advances in the study of size homeostasis that involve feedback regulation of cellular growth rate. We further discuss recent progress on the molecules that underlie cell size checkpoints and mechanisms that specify target size setpoints. Lastly, we discuss a less-well explored teleological question: why does cell size matter and what is the functional importance of cell size control?