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Cell size homeostasis is maintained by a circuitry involving a CDK4-determined target size that programs the cell size-dependent activation of p38

Auld, Douglas and Jenkins, Jeremy and Concannon, John (2020) Cell size homeostasis is maintained by a circuitry involving a CDK4-determined target size that programs the cell size-dependent activation of p38. bioRxiv.

Abstract

While molecules that promote the growth of animal cells have been identified, the following question remains: How are growth promoting pathways regulated to specify a characteristic size for each of the different cell types? In 1975, Hartwell and Nurse suggested that in eukaryotes, cell size is determined by size checkpoints – mechanisms that restrict cell cycle progression from cells that are smaller than their target size. Curiously, such checkpoint mechanisms imply a conceptual distinction between a cell’s actual size and cell’s target size. In the present study, we materialize this conceptual distinction by describing experimental assays that discriminately quantify a cell’s target size value. With these assays, we show that a cell’s size and target size are distinct phenotypes that are subject to different upstream regulators. While mTORC1 promotes growth in cell size, our data suggests that a cell’s target size value is regulated by other pathways including FGFR3, ROCK2, and CDK4. For example, while rapamycin (an mTORC1 inhibitor) decreases cell size, rapamycin does not change the target size that is required for the G1/S transition. The CDK4/Rb pathway has been previously proposed as a putative regulator of target size. Yet, in lacking experimental means that discriminate perturbations of cell growth from perturbations that reprogram target size, such claims on target size were not validated. To investigate the functions of CDK4 in target size determination, we used genetic and chemical means to ‘dial’ higher and lower levels of CDK4 activity. These measurements identified functions of CDK4 on target size that are distinct from other G1 CDKs. Using C. elegans, we further demonstrate that these influences of CDK4 on size determination function in vivo. Finally, we propose a model whereby mTORC1, p38, and CDK4 cooperate in a manner that is analogous to the function of a thermostat. While mTORC1 promotes cellular growth as prompted by p38, CDK4 is analogous to the thermostat dial that sets the critical target size associated with cell size homeostasis.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2020 00:45
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 00:45
URI: https://oak.novartis.com/id/eprint/42980

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