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Researchers find pathway that controls cell size and division

(nutrient-poor conditions) by becoming unstable and forming what appear to be inactive aggregates.

Disrupting this pathway leads to defects in chromosome segregation. A cell that is too small is unable to effectively move its DNA away from the division site and the resultant daughter cells frequently do not contain all the genetic material that they should. By coordinating cell size with growth rate, cells are able to maintain proper distribution of DNA.

This work is also something of a cautionary tale about the limitations of genome sequencing. More and more often we are finding that metabolic enzymes have more than one function, said Levin, There is no hint from their sequence that they have other activities so you really need to delve deeper and apply different methods to identify them.

Levin notes that her research is uncovering just the tip of the iceberg in the field of cell size control, but identifying genes such as ugtP helps Levin and other researchers get a better handle on precisely what determine how big a cell will be.


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Contact: Tony Fitzpatrick
tony_fitzpatrick@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
30-Jul-2007


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