Intracellular Scaling Mechanisms

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2015 Aug 7;7(12):a019067. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a019067.


Organelle function is often directly related to organelle size. However, it is not necessarily absolute size but the organelle-to-cell-size ratio that is critical. Larger cells generally have increased metabolic demands, must segregate DNA over larger distances, and require larger cytokinetic rings to divide. Thus, organelles often must scale to the size of the cell. The need for scaling is particularly acute during early development during which cell size can change rapidly. Here, we highlight scaling mechanisms for cellular structures as diverse as centrosomes, nuclei, and the mitotic spindle, and distinguish them from more general mechanisms of size control. In some cases, scaling is a consequence of the underlying mechanism of organelle size control. In others, size-control mechanisms are not obviously related to cell size, implying that scaling results indirectly from cell-size-dependent regulation of size-control mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Size*
  • Centrosome / physiology
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Models, Biological*
  • Organelle Size*
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Xenopus