Simple motion inside biological cells, such as the streaming of cytoplasm is believed to be essential for the development of organisms. Due to the lack of suitable tools, this intracellular motion could not be tested yet. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden found a way to control motion within living embryos. Rather than using microscopes simply for observations, the team around Moritz Kreysing managed to actively guide developmental processes in worm embryos by a new cell-biological technique - FLUCS. This new technology paves the way to understand how complex organisms develop and what keeps them protected from disease.
A central question in biology is how entire organisms develop from single fertilized eggs. And although genetic research has revealed deep insights into this enigmatic subject in recent years, one particular aspect of development remained elusive. For an organism to develop a structured body, biomolecules need to move to specific sites inside the embryo, similar to building material on a construction site.
A particularly important example for this distribution of material inside cells is the polarization of an embryo, which defines where the head and tail of a worm will grow. But until now, it has remained controversial which transport mechanisms define this head-tail polarization so precisely, because it was not possible to move the inside of an embryo without harming it.
A team of researchers around Moritz Kreysing in collaboration with other groups at MPI-CBG, as well as the Faculty of Mathematics and the Biotechnology Center, both of the TU Dresden, has now succeeded in inducing controlled flows in living embryos with a non-invasive laser technology called FLUCS (focused-light-induced-cytoplasmic-streaming). With this truly revolutionary tool at hand (see figure), the researchers were able to probe the function of cytoplasmic motion in the process of embryo polarization.
Matthäus Mittasch, the leading author of the study says: “With FLUCS, microscopy of growing embryos becomes truly interactive”. And indeed: with the help of realistic computer simulations the researchers even managed to reverse the head-to-tail body axis of worm embryos with FLUCS, leading to inverted development.
Lead investigator Moritz Kreysing, with a dual affiliation to the Center for Systems Biology Dresden, concludes: “The ability to actively move the interior of biological cells will help to understand how these cells change shape, how they move, divide, respond to external signals, and ultimately how entire organisms emerge guided by microscale motion.” On the medical side, FLUCS has the potential to improve our understanding of developmental defects, aid in-vitro fertilization, organism cloning, and the discovery of new drugs.
“Non-invasive perturbations of intracellular flow reveal physical principles of cell organization.” Matthäus Mittasch, Peter Groß, Michael Nestler, Anatol W. Fritsch, Christiane Iserman, Mrityunjoy Kar, Matthias Munder, Axel Voigt, Simon Alberti, Stephan W. Grill, and Moritz Kreysing: Nature Cell Biology, 20(3), 2018. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41556-017-0032-9
About the MPI-CBG
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) is one of 84 institutes of the Max Planck Society, an independent, non-profit organization in Germany. 500 curiosity-driven scientists from over 50 countries ask: How do cells form tissues? The basic research programs of the MPI-CBG span multiple scales of magnitude, from molecular assemblies to organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organisms.
Katrin Boes | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik
New type of photosynthesis discovered
17.06.2018 | Imperial College London
New ID pictures of conducting polymers discover a surprise ABBA fan
17.06.2018 | University of Warwick
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering