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Control of cell growth and size:  A fundamental unsolved problem

            Cells must maintain a specific size to survive and carry out their functions.  The mechanisms that control cell size must be as ancient and conserved as the cell cycle, since they would have been necessary for survival of the earliest eukaryotic cells.  Cancer cells have severe defects in size control, which suggests that cell size control is closely linked to signals that control proliferation.  The goal of our work is to discover conserved universal mechanisms that control cell growth and size.  

 Cell size checkpoints play a critical role in cell size control 

            Cell size checkpoints ensure that key cell cycle transitions are initiated only when sufficient growth has occurred.  Theoretical considerations suggest that cell size checkpoints must translate a parameter related to growth into a proportional checkpoint signal that can be read to determine when sufficient growth has occurred.  They must also read the proportional checkpoint signal and trigger a cell cycle transition when it reaches a threshold.  Our work is aimed at discovering the molecular mechanisms underlying these key mechanistic features of cell size checkpoints. 

Growth-dependent signaling could explain how cell size checkpoints measure growth

            We recently discovered a checkpoint that links mitotic entry to membrane growth in budding yeast.  Our analysis of the checkpoint led us to hypothesize that vesicles arriving at a site of membrane growth generate a checkpoint signal that is proportional to the extent of growth, and that downstream components read the strength of this signal to determine when sufficient growth has occurred.  This growth-dependent signaling hypothesis suggests a simple and broadly relevant solution to two fundamental biological questions:  1) How is cell size controlled? and 2) How is membrane growth integrated with the cell cycle?  Growth-dependent signaling could control both size and shape by determining the extent of growth at specific sites.  It also suggests a robust mechanism for size control that is readily adaptable to cells of diverse size and shape.  We are using proteomics, biochemistry, genetics and in vivo imaging to explore the mechanisms that link cell cycle progression to membrane growth.

Discovery of a master regulator of cell size

            Protein phosphatase 2A associated with the Rts1 regulatory subunit (PP2ARts1) plays a central role in size control in budding yeast.  Cells that lack PP2ARts1 fail to modulate their size in response to nutrients, which indicates that PP2ARts1 plays a role in the enigmatic mechanisms that set cell size.  To identify targets of PP2ARts1, we used quantitative proteome-wide mass spectrometry, which revealed that PP2ARts1 is a master regulator of multiple cell size checkpoint pathways.  Thus, multiple seemingly independent cell size checkpoints may be linked to a common mechanism that sets cell size.  Our proteome-wide analysis of proteins controlled by PP2ARts1 led to the discovery of numerous candidate targets, key phosphorylation sites, and entire signaling pathways controlled by PP2ARts1.  The data have thus proven to be a rich trove of information that we are using as a roadmap to discover mechanisms of cell size control. 


Lab Members

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✉️  Doug Kellogg, Principal Investigato 

✉️  Akshi Jasani, Grad Student

✉️  Rafael Talavera, Undergrad Reseracher

Bud Wiser,  brew meister

✉️  Rafael Lucena, Postdoctoral Fellow  

✉️ Ricardo Leitão, Grad Student

✉️ Maybo He, Post-Bac Researcher

✉️ Maybo He, Post-Bac Researcher

✉️ Matt Domnauer, Undergrad Researcher

✉️  Maria Alcaide, Postdoctoral Fellow

✉️  Maria Alcaide, Postdoctoral Fellow

✉️ Robert Sommer, Grad Student

✉️ Robert Sommer, Grad Student

✉️  Raymond Tan, Undergraduate Researcher

✉️ Annie Pham, Post-Bac Researcher

✉️ Annie PhamPost-Bac Researcher

embarrassing moments by former members

at request of Jessica Zapata, thru the power of words "unf*ucking believable" and "c'mmon guys", the former lab members section is back

Jessica Zapata: It's Jessica's graduation. Bob, being a gentleman, forgot Jessica in the parking lot of the restaurant we had left. And while we enjoyed some drinks we wondered why was Jessica not there!?


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Nucleocytoplasmic transport in the midzone membrane domain controls yeast mitotic spindle disassembly.
Lucena R, Dephoure N, Gygi SP, Kellogg DR, Tallada VA, Daga RR, Jimenez J. J Cell Biol. 2015 May 11;209(3):387-402. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201412144.

The Rts1 regulatory subunit of PP2A phosphatase controls expression of the HO endonuclease via localization of the Ace2 transcription factor. Parnell EJ, Yu Y, Lucena R, Yoon Y, Bai L, Kellogg DR, Stillman DJ. J Biol Chem. 2014 Dec 19;289(51):35431-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.611715. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Compact modeling of allosteric multisite proteins: application to a cell size checkpoint. Enciso G, Kellogg DR, Vargas A.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2014 Feb 6;10(2):e1003443. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003443. eCollection 2014 Feb.

PP2ARts1 is a master regulator of pathways that control cell size. Zapata J, Dephoure N, Macdonough T, Yu Y, Parnell EJ, Mooring M, Gygi SP, Stillman DJ, Kellogg DR. J Cell Biol. 2014 Feb 3;204(3):359-76. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201309119.

Cks confers specificity to phosphorylation-dependent CDK signaling pathways. McGrath DA, Balog ER, Kõivomägi M, Lucena R, Mai MV, Hirschi A, Kellogg DR, Loog M, Rubin SM. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Dec;20(12):1407-14. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2707. Epub 2013 Nov 3.

Mapping and analysis of phosphorylation sites: a quick guide for cell biologists. Dephoure N, Gould KL, Gygi SP, Kellogg DR.
Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Mar;24(5):535-42. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-09-0677. Review.


Dr. Doug Kellogg

Professor of MCD Biology University of California, Santa Cruz

1156 High St., 
342 Sinsheimer Labs
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Office Phone: 831-459-5578
Lab Phone: 831-459-5659

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