Role of nuclear size in cell growth initiation

Science  22 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4399, pp. 1315-1317
DOI: 10.1126/science.451539


Swiss 3T3 cells arrested in B0 (quiescent state) by reducing serum content of the medium all contain the same amount of DNA but vary in nuclear volume over approximately a twofold range. By use of flow microfluorimetry, scatterplots of nuclear volume versus DNA content were obtained in intervals after serum stimulation. The earliest cells to enter DNA synthesis were those with the largest nuclei, whereas cells with the smallest nuclei were among the latest. Regulation of cellular transit from G0 to the S phase was therefore, at least in part, deterministic, since all G0 cells did not have equal probabilities of entry into S at a given moment. All cells having the same nuclear volume did not initiate DNA synthesis at the same moment; therefore, factors other than nuclear volume must also influence this timing. Nuclear volume correlated with the maximum rate at which cells could enter S. The kinetic model of the cell cycle postulating a probabilistic event as solely responsible for entry into S thus appears too simple.