New study finds link between cell division and growth rate

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 03:20 in Biology & Nature

It’s a longstanding question in biology: How do cells know when to progress through the cell cycle? In simple organisms such as yeast, cells divide once they reach a specific size. However, determining if this holds true for mammalian cells has been difficult, in part because there has been no good way to measure mammalian cell growth over time.Now, a team of MIT and Harvard Medical School (HMS) researchers has precisely measured the growth rates of single cells, allowing them to answer that fundamental question. In the Aug. 5 online edition of Nature Methods, the researchers report that mammalian cells divide not when they reach a critical size, but when their growth rate hits a specific threshold.This first-ever observation of this threshold was made possible by a technique developed by MIT professor Scott Manalis and his students in 2007 to measure the mass of single cells. In the new study,...

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