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All living cells, from simple yeasts to human brain cells, regulate their rate of growth and their ultimate size and shape. How they do this, however, is one of the fundamental mysteries of biology.
A new study, published December 28 in Current Biology, reveals a complex network of signals and feedback loops that control both cell growth and size in yeast. At the heart of the network is a protein complex called TORC2, which is disrupted in many cancer cells.
Defects - Cancer - Cell - Size - Shape
"One of the most universal defects in cancer is aberrant cell size and shape. It's what the pathologist looks for, and the worse those defects are, the worse the prognosis," explained Douglas Kellogg, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz and corresponding author of the study.
Yeast is a relatively simple organism, yet it works in the same fundamental ways as human cells. The same signaling network that controls cell growth in yeast is thought to operate in more complex organisms too, including humans.
Discoveries - Yeast - Humans - Kellogg - Growth
"Fundamental discoveries in yeast are directly applicable to humans," Kellogg said. "If we can understand how growth control works in normal cells, and how it goes wrong in cancer cells, we could potentially exploit that knowledge to kill cancer cells."
The new study looked at how cell growth and size are limited by the availability of nutrients. In previous work, Kellogg's team had identified...
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