Genetics

Neither Too Big Nor Too Small

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Science  22 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5598, pp. 1517
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5598.1517d

How does an organism produce not only an appropriately sized organ but also the right number of appropriately sized cells in that organ? Examples of correlations between size and number exist, as do instances of independent variation. Autran et al. have characterized the struwwelpeter mutant in Arabidopsis. They find that organ (leaf or petal) size is reduced as a consequence of reduced cell number; in some cases, such as leaf epidermis, there is partial compensation via an enlargement in cell size. It appears that mutation in SWP, which encodes a subunit of the Mediator complex (a transcriptional coactivator), closes the window of cell proliferation earlier, without altering the duration of the cell cycle, meaning that fewer cycles are completed. Partial compensation occurs when the endoreduplication of DNA that accompanies the postmitotic increase in cell size goes on for one or two rounds more than usual. — GJC

EMBO J.21, 6036 (2002).

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