Cell size control – a mechanism for maintaining fitness and function

Teemu P. Miettinen, Matias J. Caldez, Philipp Kaldis, Mikael Björklund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The maintenance of cell size homeostasis has been studied for years in different cellular systems. With the focus on ‘what regulates cell size’, the question ‘why cell size needs to be maintained’ has been largely overlooked. Recent evidence indicates that animal cells exhibit nonlinear cell size dependent growth rates and mitochondrial metabolism, which are maximal in intermediate sized cells within each cell population. Increases in intracellular distances and changes in the relative cell surface area impose biophysical limitations on cells, which can explain why growth and metabolic rates are maximal in a specific cell size range. Consistently, aberrant increases in cell size, for example through polyploidy, are typically disadvantageous to cellular metabolism, fitness and functionality. Accordingly, cellular hypertrophy can potentially predispose to or worsen metabolic diseases. We propose that cell size control may have emerged as a guardian of cellular fitness and metabolic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700058
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cell and Molecular Biology

Free keywords

  • cell size control
  • fitness
  • metabolism
  • mevalonate pathway
  • mitochondria
  • polyploidy
  • statin


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