Environmental control of cell size at division

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2012 Dec;24(6):838-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2012.08.003. Epub 2012 Sep 2.


Tight coupling between cell growth and cell cycle progression allows cells to adjust their size to the demands of proliferation in varying nutrient environments. Target of rapamycin (TOR) signalling pathways co-ordinate cell growth with cell cycle progression in response to altered nutritional availability. To increase cell size the active TOR Complex 1 (TORC1) promotes cell growth to delay mitosis and cell division, whereas under limited nutrients TORC1 activity is decreased to reduce cell size. It remains unclear why cell size is subject to such tight control. Recent evidence suggests that in addition to modulating cell size, changes in nutrient availability also alter nuclear:cytoplasmic (N/C) ratios and may therefore compromise optimal cellular physiology. This could explain why cells increase their size when conditions are favourable, despite being competent to survive at a smaller size if necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Size*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1