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Geometrical constraints in the scaling relationships between genome size, cell size and cell cycle length in herbaceous plants

Šímová, Irena, Herben, Tomáš
Proceedings 2012 v.279 no.1730 pp. 867-875
data collection, diploidy, herbaceous plants, interphase, meristems, metabolism, nuclear genome, prediction
Plant nuclear genome size (GS) varies over three orders of magnitude and is correlated with cell size and growth rate. We explore whether these relationships can be owing to geometrical scaling constraints. These would produce an isometric GS–cell volume relationship, with the GS–cell diameter relationship with the exponent of 1/3. In the GS–cell division relationship, duration of processes limited by membrane transport would scale at the 1/3 exponent, whereas those limited by metabolism would show no relationship. We tested these predictions by estimating scaling exponents from 11 published datasets on differentiated and meristematic cells in diploid herbaceous plants. We found scaling of GS–cell size to almost perfectly match the prediction. The scaling exponent of the relationship between GS and cell cycle duration did not match the prediction. However, this relationship consists of two components: (i) S phase duration, which depends on GS, and has the predicted 1/3 exponent, and (ii) a GS-independent threshold reflecting the duration of the G1 and G2 phases. The matches we found for the relationships between GS and both cell size and S phase duration are signatures of geometrical scaling. We propose that a similar approach can be used to examine GS effects at tissue and whole plant levels.