Cells sense their size and use this information to coordinate cell division with cell growth to maintain a constant cell size within a given population. A model has been proposed for cell size control in the rod-shaped cells of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This involves a protein localized to the cell ends, which inhibits mitotic activators in the middle of the cell in a cell size-dependent manner. This protein, Pom1, along with another tip-localized protein, Nif1, have been implicated as direct sensors of cell size controlling the onset of mitosis. Here we have investigated cell size variability and size homeostasis at the G 2/M transition, focusing on the role of pom1 and nif1. Cells deleted for either of these 2 genes show wild-type size homeostasis both in size variability analyses and size homeostasis experiments. This indicates that these genes do not have a critical role as direct cell size sensors in the control mechanism. Cell size homeostasis also seems to be independent of Cdc2-Tyr15 phosphorylation, suggesting that the size sensing mechanism in fission yeast may act through an unidentified pathway regulating CDK activity by an unknown mechanism.
Keywords: Pom1; cell cycle; cell size control; cell size variability; fission yeast; growth rate.