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Theor Biol Med Model. 2004 Nov 16;1:12.

Size control in growing yeast and mammalian cells.

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Department of Agricultural Chemical Technology, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 1111 Budapest, Szt, Gellert ter 4, Hungary.



In a recent publication it was claimed that cultured mammalian cells, in contrast to yeasts, maintain a constant size distribution in the population without a size checkpoint. This inference may be challengeable.


(1) It is argued that "weak" size control implies the existence of a checkpoint, and unfortunately the technique used by Conlon and Raff might obscure such a weak mechanism. (2) Previous investigations of size control in yeasts have shown that individual cell data, rather than means and variances of cell populations, are prerequisites for reliable interpretation. (3) No experimental data so far obtained suggest that in any cell culture a linear growth pattern in cell mass can maintain size homeostasis on its own without size control. (4) Studies on fission yeast mutants indicate that the molecular mechanisms of size control vary with genetic background, implying that no single mechanism is likely to apply to any cell type, including cultured mammalian cells, under all conditions.


The claim that cultured mammalian cells maintain size homeostasis without a checkpoint needs to be re-evaluated by measurements on individual cells.

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