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The research, published in Nature Communications, reveals a fundamental biological basis for scaling, where cells maintain their proportions as they grow or shrink. This principle is seen throughout life, from single cells through to complex organisms, but its biological origins have remained a mystery.
By studying yeast cells from the related S. japonicus and S. pombe species, the team discovered that scaling plays a vital role in cell division. To successfully reproduce through cell division, fission yeast cells need to copy their DNA and then split down the middle to create two new cells. The new study reveals that staying in the right shape is essential for cells to find their 'middle' where the split should occur.
Fission - Yeast - Cells - Tips - Signals
Fission yeast cells are typically pill-shaped, and the tips send molecular signals which meet in the middle. The latest research found that if the cell is too round and the ends aren't far apart enough, the signals get mixed up and the cell can't tell where the middle is. When a rounded cell divides, it breaks apart off-centre, which can either tear the DNA and kill the cell or leave two copies of DNA in one cell and none in the other.
"If a division leaves two copies of DNA in one cell, the one without DNA will die and the one with two copies is likely to have problems when it next divides, which in human cells can lead to cancer," explains Professor Snezhka Oliferenko, research group leader at the Crick and King's. "To avoid this,...
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