Communal living: the role of polyploidy and syncytia in tissue biology.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Multicellular organisms are composed of tissues with diverse cell sizes. Whether a tissue primarily consists of numerous, small cells as opposed to fewer, large cells can impact tissue development and function. The addition of nuclear genome copies within a common cytoplasm is a recurring strategy to manipulate cellular size within a tissue. Cells with more than two genomes can exist transiently, such as in developing germlines or embryos, or can be part of mature somatic tissues. Such nuclear collectives span multiple levels of organization, from mononuclear or binuclear polyploid cells to highly multinucleate structures known as syncytia. Here, we review the diversity of polyploid and syncytial tissues found throughout nature. We summarize current literature concerning tissue construction through syncytia and/or polyploidy and speculate why one or both strategies are advantageous.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Peterson, NG; Fox, DT

Published Date

  • December 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 3-4

Start / End Page

  • 245 - 260

PubMed ID

  • 34075512

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8169410

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-6849

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0967-3849

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10577-021-09664-3


  • eng