A G1 Sizer Coordinates Growth and Division in the Mouse Epidermis

Curr Biol. 2020 Mar 9;30(5):916-924.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.062. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


Cell size homeostasis is often achieved by coupling cell-cycle progression to cell growth. Growth has been shown to drive cell-cycle progression in bacteria and yeast through "sizers," wherein cells of varying birth size divide at similar final sizes [1-3], and "adders," wherein cells increase in size a fixed amount per cell cycle [4-6]. Intermediate control phenomena are also observed, and even the same organism can exhibit different control phenomena depending on growth conditions [2, 7, 8]. Although studying unicellular organisms in laboratory conditions may give insight into their growth control in the wild, this is less apparent for studies of mammalian cells growing outside the organism. Sizers, adders, and intermediate phenomena have been observed in vitro [9-12], but it is unclear how this relates to mammalian cell proliferation in vivo. To address this question, we analyzed time-lapse images of the mouse epidermis taken over 1 week during normal tissue turnover [13]. We quantified the 3D volume growth and cell-cycle progression of single cells within the mouse skin. In dividing epidermal stem cells, we found that cell growth is coupled to division through a sizer operating largely in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Thus, although the majority of tissue culture studies have identified adders, our analysis demonstrates that sizers are important in vivo and highlights the need to determine their underlying molecular origin.

Keywords: G1/S control; cell cycle; cell growth; cell size control; restriction point; sizer; systems biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Size
  • Epidermal Cells / physiology*
  • G1 Phase*
  • Mice