The key difference between cell proliferation and differentiation is that cell proliferation is the process of increasing the cell number while cell differentiation is the process of forming a variety of cell types that have specific functions.
Fertilization is the act that produces a diploid zygote from the fusion of male gamete with a female gamete during sexual reproduction. This diploid zygote undergoes different changes in order to transform into an organism. Cell proliferation, cell differentiation and morphogenesis are such changes that occur during embryonic development. Cells increase in number and mass in multicellular organisms in order to grow and develop. Moreover, undifferentiated stem cells differentiate and transform into specific cell types that carry out particular functions in the body. Hence, the current article highlights the difference between cell proliferation and differentiation in brief.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cell Proliferation
3. What is Cell Differentiation
4. Similarities Between Cell Proliferation and Differentiation
5. Side by Side Comparison – Cell Proliferation vs Differentiation in Tabular Form
What is Cell Proliferation?
Cell proliferation is the process of increasing cell number. In early embryonic development, rapid cell proliferation occurs. Cell proliferation is a result of cell division or cell cleavage. Somatic cells divide by mitosis and produce genetically identical cells. Then the cell mass increases and the organisms grow. The rate of proliferation ceases or decreases when the cells differentiate into specific cell types. However, some cells show continual proliferation while some cells never divide again.
Generally, most adult cells are able to resume the proliferation whenever required to replace cells that have been lost as a result of injury or cell death. Notably, cell proliferation is a carefully balanced event occurring in multicellular organisms. Uncontrollable cell proliferation can even end up with cancer or a tumour. Hence, cell proliferation is very high in tumour development.
What is Cell Differentiation?
Cell differentiation is the process of forming a variety of cell types. It is an essential process to produce many specialized cell types that make up the tissues and organs of multicellular animals. Differentiated cells have specific functions to fulfil. Once they differentiate, the rate of proliferation decreases. Furthermore, they lose the ability of cell differentiation. These cells remain in the G0 stage of the cell cycle without proliferating. Cell differentiation is finely controlled by gene regulation. Moreover, cell interactions, hormones and environmental factors can control the cell differentiation.
Cell potency determines the ability of cell differentiation. Totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent and unipotent are four types of cell potencies. Totipotent cells can differentiate into all cell types while pluripotent cells also can give rise to all cells of the tissues of the body. However, compared to totipotent cells, the ability of pluripotent cells is less. Multipotent cells can differentiate into many cell types while unipotent cells can give rise to one specialized cell type.
What are the Similarities Between Cell Proliferation and Differentiation?
- Cell proliferation and cell differentiation are interrelated processes.
- They are regulated simultaneously.
- However, they are independent processes.
- Also, both processes occur in multicellular organisms.
- Moreover, they are important in order to replace injured tissues or damaged tissues.
What is the Difference Between Cell Proliferation and Differentiation?
Cell proliferation and cell differentiation are controlled processes in multicellular organisms. Cell proliferation increases the number of cells while cell differentiation makes cells structurally and functionally different. So, this is the key difference between cell proliferation and differentiation. Furthermore, a significant difference between cell proliferation and differentiation is that the cell proliferation increases genetically identical cells while cell differentiation produces genetically different cell types.
Moreover, a further difference between cell proliferation and differentiation is that cell proliferation occurs as a result of cell division and cell growth while cell differentiation occurs as a result of gene expression.
Below infographic tabulates the difference between cell proliferation and differentiation.
Summary – Cell Proliferation vs Differentiation
In summarizing the difference between cell proliferation and differentiation, cell proliferation and differentiation are important processes that take place in multicellular organisms. These processes allow the formation of a complete individual from a single diploid cell called zygote. Cell proliferation is the process of multiplying the number of cells. On the other hand, cell differentiation is the process of forming different cell types which form tissues and organs that have specific functions within the body. Cell proliferation is mainly due to cell division while cell differentiation is a result of gene expression.
1. Cooper, Geoffrey M. “Cell Proliferation in Development and Differentiation.” The Cell: A Molecular Approach. 2nd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, Available here.
2. “Cellular Differentiation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Mar. 2019, Available here.
1. “Stemcelldifferentiaion” By US gov – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Abnormal neuroblast proliferation and brain tumor formation – 486169.fig.005a” By Nidhi Saini and Heinrich Reichert (2012) – Nidhi Saini and Heinrich Reichert, “Neural Stem Cells in Drosophila: Molecular Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Normal Neural Proliferation and Abnormal Brain Tumor Formation,” Stem Cells International, vol. 2012, Article ID 486169, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/486169, (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia