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The control of cell growth and body size in Caenorhabditis elegans
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM).
2014 (English)In: Experimental Cell Research, ISSN 0014-4827, E-ISSN 1090-2422, Vol. 321, no 1, 71-76 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One of the most important ways in which animal species vary is in their size. Individuals of the largest animal ever thought to have lived, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), can reach a weight of 190 t and a length of over 30 m. At the other extreme, among the smallest multicellular animals are males of the parasitic wasp, Dicopomorpha echmepterygis, which even as adults are just 140 mu m in length. In terms of volume, these species differ by more than 14 orders of magnitude. Since size has such profound effects on an organism's ecology, anatomy and physiology, an important task for evolutionary biology and ecology is to account for why organisms grow to their characteristic sizes. Equally, a full description of an organism's development must include an explanation of how its growth and body size are regulated. Here I review research on how these processes are controlled in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Analyses of small and long mutants have revealed that in the worm, DBL-1, a ligand in the TGF beta superfamily family, promotes growth in a dose-dependent manner. DBL-1 signaling affects body size by stimulating the growth of syncytial hypodermal cells rather than controlling cell division. Signals from chemosensory neurons and from the gonad also modulate body size, in part, independently of DBL-1-mediated signaling. Organismal size and morphology is heavily influenced by the cuticle, which acts as the exoskeleton. Finally, I summarize research on several genes that appear to regulate body size by cell autonomously regulating cell growth throughout the worm. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 321, no 1, 71-76 p.
Keyword [en]
Caenorhabditis elegans, Body size, TGFbeta, dbl-1, BMP
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87037DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.11.007ISI: 000331157200011OAI: diva2:710532
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-03-18 Last updated: 2014-04-07Bibliographically approved

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Tuck, Simon
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