An active size-sensing mechanism may control the cell cycle in mammalian cells, according to a letter in Nature Cell Biology this week. A size threshold adjusts cell cycle length in the next cycle to ensure maintenance of a proper balance between growth and proliferation rates in various vertebrate cell types including human, mouse, and chicken erythroblasts and fibroblasts in vitro, Ernst Müllner and colleagues at the Department of Medical Biochemistry at the Vienna Biocenter found in their study.

The question of whether cells need an active size-sensing mechanism or whether they stochastically revert back to a mean size after several divisions following either chemical or signaling perturbation has been debated for about 40 years, said Müllner. "Our data would go to the camp of the people arguing for an active cell size sensing," he told The Scientist.

The team does not claim that a size-sensing mechanism is applicable to all...

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