The principles of cellular geometry scaling


Cellular dimensions profoundly influence cellular physiology. For unicellular organisms, this has direct bearing on their ecology and evolution. The morphology of a cell is governed by scaling rules. As it grows, the ratio of its surface area to volume is expected to decrease. Similarly, if environmental conditions force proliferating cells to settle on different size optima, cells of the same type may exhibit size-dependent variation in cellular processes. In fungi, algae and plants where cells are surrounded by a rigid wall, division at smaller size often produces immediate changes in geometry, decreasing cell fitness. Here, we discuss how cells interpret their size, buffer against changes in shape and, if necessary, scale their polarity to maintain optimal shape at different cell volumes.

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Volume 68
Pages 20-27
Available online
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