Editors' ChoiceCell growth

The bigger the cell, the bigger the fly

Science's STKE  28 Sep 1999:
Vol. 1999, Issue 1, pp. tw11
DOI: 10.1126/stke.1999.1.tw11

Cells of a specific type maintain a characteristic cell size, and in multicellular organisms, this effect has an influence on the size of organs or the complete animal. Even as more knowledge about control of the cell division cycle is accumulated, the mechanisms by which cells control cell size remain poorly understood. Montagne et al. provide evidence that implicates a role for a signaling pathway that controls translation in the control of cell size. Drosophila that lack DS6K, the homolog of the mammalian p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase, develop slowly and are only about half the size of their normal counterparts. The change in size of the fly is a cell-autonomous event that reflects changes in cell size while cell number remains constant. Leevers discusses how these results, together with recent findings that cell size is influenced through signaling from the insulin receptor (which also controls the activity of DS6K), begin to define a critical pathway that regulates the size of individual cells.

Montagne, J., Stewart, M.J., Stocker, H. Hafen, E., Kozma, S.C., and Thomas, G. (1999) Drosophila S6 kinase: A regulator of cell size. Science 285: 2126-2129. [Abstract] [Full Text]

Leevers, S.J. (1999) All creatures great and small. Science 285: 2082-2083. [Abstract] [Full Text]