What drives fruit growth?

R.C. Okello, E. Heuvelink, P.H.B. de Visser, P.C. Struik, L.F.M. Marcelis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Cell division, endoreduplication (an increase in nuclear DNA content without cell division) and cell expansion are important processes for growth. It is debatable whether organ growth is driven by all three cellular processes. Alternatively, all could be part of a dominant extracellular growth regulatory mechanism. Cell level processes have been studied extensively and a positive correlation between cell number and fruit size is commonly reported, although few positive correlations between cell size or ploidy level and fruit size have been found. Here, we discuss cell-level growth dynamics in fruits and ask what drives fruit growth and during which development stages. We argue that (1) the widely accepted positive correlation between cell number and fruit size does not imply a causal relationship; (2) fruit growth is regulated by both cell autonomous and noncell autonomous mechanisms as well as a global coordinator, the target of rapamycin; and (3) increases in fruit size follow the neocellular theory of growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-827
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • individual cucumber fruits
  • tomato fruit
  • cell-size
  • lycopersicon-pimpinellifolium
  • dna endoreduplication
  • carbon availability
  • hormone-levels
  • qtl detection
  • plant fruit
  • organ size


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