Biochemical Balance and Synchronized Cell Cultures


IN cell biochemistry, it is desirable to have criteria for identifying abnormal changes resulting from experimental manipulation, especially during the induction of synchrony. For this purpose, use has been made of the concept of unbalanced growth, first introduced by Cohen and Barner1, to explain the death of a thymine-requiring mutant of Escherichia coli as a result of continued cytoplasmic synthesis in the absence of proportional DNA synthesis. Most people who use this concept are doubtless aware that its foundation must be in the biochemical processes within individual cells and that the fundamental definition of “balance” should be at the cellular level. There are, however, examples in the literature in which it is concluded, on the basis of changes in the gross composition of mammalian cell cultures in which the age distribution of cells is changing, that growth is “unbalanced” without proper consideration of the possibility that the changes might result merely from redistribution of individual cells in the several phases of the life cycle, rather than from significant changes in their composition.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Cohen, S. S., and Barner, H. D., Proc. US Nat. Acad. Sci., 40, 885 (1954).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Campbell, A., Bact. Rev., 21, 263 (1957).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Zeuthen, E., in Synchrony in Cell Division and Growth, 3 (Interscience, New York, 1959).

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Schaechter, M., Maaløe, O., and Kjeldgaard, N. O., J. Gen. Microbiol., 19, 592 (1958).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Kjeldgaard, N. O., Maaløe, O., and Sehaechter, M., J. Gen. Microbiol., 19, 607 (1958).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Kim, J. H., Kim, S. H., and Eidinoff, M. L., Biochem. Pharmacol., 14, 1821 (1965).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Puck, T. T., and Steffan, J., Biophys. J., 3, 379 (1963).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

ANDERSON, E., PETERSEN, D. & TOBEY, R. Biochemical Balance and Synchronized Cell Cultures. Nature 215, 1083–1084 (1967).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.