The control of cell biogenesis remains poorly understood, despite being critical for the development and maintenance of all organisms. Studies in vitro and in vivo using the Schwann cell, the glial cell of the peripheral nervous system, have provided important insights into cell growth control. These studies have demonstrated how instructive growth factor signals can control cell growth rates, cell size and organelle biogenesis and how deregulated cell growth can contribute to diseases, such as cancer. Additional studies on Schwann cells highlight the importance of cell size control within a tissue--the size of myelinating Schwann cells is coupled to the size of the axon they ensheath, which is necessary for efficient nerve conduction.
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