I am a student of physics of mathematics with very little knowledge of biology. Nevertheless, I am very keen on biophysics and I'm trying to learn the biological concepts that I need on the way.

I'm preparing now my bachelor thesis (regarding the physics of cell division) and my advisor has recommended me a paper of his where he studies some forces that are relevant in this process.

Under his analysis the constriction of the cell is independent of the area of the cell (the cells constrict on a similar fashion no matter which size they have, the only important parameter is the shape) and he considers several different scenarios. Two of those seemed plausible biologically speaking to me but I don't know if they happen or not in real life. They are to consider the surface of the cell constant during the process or to consider the volume to be constant (during the constriction of the cellular vesicle prior to the division in two new daughter cells).

Are any of these assumptions realistic? Does the area or the volume of the cell undertaking mitosis change drastically during the constriction of the cellular vesicle?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate on what behaviour is assumed to be independent of the cell surface area? The review of the entire paper may be considered too broad, so pick up relevant points and add them in your question. The title also seems broad; can you please narrow it down to a specific point; for e.g. the role of surface tension in cell division etc $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Dec 22 '15 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ Cell area and volume should be measurable (over time) with live cell microscopy. Probably there is some data on this. $\endgroup$ – Roland Dec 22 '15 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG I have changed the title of the question and added a little explanation. I am interested in the behaviour during the constriction of the cell. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – A. A. Dec 22 '15 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ What cells do you have in mind? Which organism? Which tissue? $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo Dec 23 '15 at 0:44

Another PLOS One article gives evidence of change both in volume and in surface area, but it is across mitosis phases. It could still be considered constant during cytokinesis only.

It seems that cell shape and size have important function during mitosis, according to this research. It would be interesting to investigate different models from your advisor's paper (constant maximum radius, volume or area) but starting from different shapes and sizes.


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