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Science 325 (5937): 167-171

Copyright © 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Cell Growth and Size Homeostasis in Proliferating Animal Cells

Amit Tzur,1,* Ran Kafri,1,* Valerie S. LeBleu,2 Galit Lahav,1 Marc W. Kirschner1,{dagger}

Abstract: A long-standing question in biology is whether there is an intrinsic mechanism for coordinating growth and the cell cycle in metazoan cells. We examined cell size distributions in populations of lymphoblasts and applied a mathematical analysis to calculate how growth rates vary with both cell size and the cell cycle. Our results show that growth rate is size-dependent throughout the cell cycle. After initial growth suppression, there is a rapid increase in growth rate during the G1 phase, followed by a period of constant exponential growth. The probability of cell division varies independently with cell size and cell age. We conclude that proliferating mammalian cells have an intrinsic mechanism that maintains cell size.

1 Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2 Division of Matrix Biology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: marc{at}

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