Hierarchical Size Scaling during Multicellular Growth and Development

Sravanti Uppaluri, Stephanie C. Weber, Clifford P. Brangwynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Multicellular organisms must regulate their growth across the diverse length scales of biological organization, but how this growth is controlled from organelle to body, while coordinating interdependent functions at each scale, remains poorly understood. We utilized the C. elegans worm intestine as a model system to identify distinct allometric scaling laws, revealing that the growth of individual structures is differentially regulated during development. We show that the volume of the nucleolus, a subcellular organelle, is directly proportional (isometric) to cell size during larval development. In contrast to findings in a variety of other systems, the size of the nucleus grows more slowly and is hypoallometric to the cell. We further demonstrate that the relative size of the nucleolus, the site of ribosome biogenesis, is predictive of the growth rate of the entire worm. These results highlight the importance of subcellular size for organism-level function in multicellular organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalCell Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 4 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • C. elegans development
  • allometry
  • growth
  • organelle size
  • scaling


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