A study by biological engineers at Princeton solves a longtime paradox about how a key constituent of cells self-organizes intself into working structure despite being made of liquid. These insights into the form and function of the nucleolus could ultimately point toward new ways to treat disease.
"We thought: does the nucleolus' assembly and function depend on the size of the cell?" said Clifford Brangwynne, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton. "If this were true, then it could provide a feedback mechanism for regulating cell growth."
A finding by Princeton engineers now shows gravity imposes a size constraint on cells. The results provide a novel reason why most animal cells are small and of similar size.