The Francis Crick Institute
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Cellular geometry scaling ensures robust division site positioning

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-16, 11:56 authored by Ying Gu, Snezhana Oliferenko
Cells of a specific cell type may divide within a certain size range. Yet, functionally optimal cellular organization is typically maintained across different cell sizes, a phenomenon known as scaling. The mechanisms underlying scaling and its physiological significance remain elusive. Here we approach this problem by interfering with scaling in the rod-shaped fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces japonicus that relies on cellular geometry cues to position the division site. We show that S. japonicus uses the Cdc42 polarity module to adjust its geometry to changes in the cell size. When scaling is prevented resulting in abnormal cellular length-to-width aspect ratio, cells exhibit severe division site placement defects. We further show that despite the generally accepted view, a similar scaling phenomenon can occur in the sister species, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Our results demonstrate that scaling is required for normal cell function and delineate possible rules for cellular geometry maintenance in populations of proliferating cells.