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Cell-size control and homeostasis at the single-cell level

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How cells control their size is one of the oldest, unsolved problems in biology. Two extreme textbook models state that the cell senses its absolute size (thus ’sizer’) or uses an internal ’timer’ to trigger cell division. I will present an unexpectedly simple and general cell-size control and homeostasis principle for bacteria. This ‘adder’ principle overturns the sizer and timer models and is shared by both Gram-negative E. coli and Gram-positive B. subtilis (which are a billion years divergent). Furthermore, the adder principle explains not only the population-level results quantitatively, but also the origin, hierarchy and inter-relationship of the variability of basic cellular processes of growth and cell division of individual cells.

This talk is part of the BSS Formal Seminars series.

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