The star of the show: mitochondria.
American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, Washington, December 2001
Microscope captures mitochondria bopping to a beat.
An intricate mesh of tubes wiggle, worm-like across the screen. "They’re speeding," says Tim Richardson proudly, watching mitochondria, the cell’s energy generators, zoom around the cell. His controversial microscopic method is shooting the cell’s innards as they’ve never been seen before.
Methods which harm the cell make the validity of observations questionable. "Lots of people’s biological research has gone as far as current light microscopy can see," says Waterfall.
Bopping to the beats of a customised classical soundtrack, mitochondria, the rigid rods of textbook biology are exposed. The speedy shape-shifters sprint across the cell in as little as 5 seconds. "We weren’t expecting to see mitochondria moving," says Richardson. The network of interconnecting filaments also randomly branch and fuse.
Defective mitochondria implicated in inherited diseases, such as childhood fatal condition Leigh’s syndrome, cannot suck up fluorescent dyes and were previously inscrutable. In these patients, Richardson’s technique shows, the mitochondrial filaments are thicker or spherical and static.
Whether these mobility problems contribute to the symptoms of the disease, or are a byproduct of underlying metabolic problems in mitochondrial proteins, is unclear. "We’re trying to interface between clinical and basic science," says team member Nu-An Pham.
Sceptics have questioned whether the movements are spontaneous, however. Mitochondrial ’dance’ might be a passive side-effect of movement in the cytoplasm, or even created by the heat of powerful lamps, points out mitochondria researcher Robert Balaban of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Some evidence does suggest that mitochondria move to areas in the cell where most energy is needed. "That would be intriguing," says Balaban.
Existing light microscopes have trouble capturing transparent structures such as mitochondria, or making out finer details. Richardson’s ’Real-Time Microscopy’ uses light to produces images at a resolution of 200 nanometres, twice that of existing light microscopes and able to capture the 500 nanometre mitochondria with ease. Movies are captured on broadcast quality recorders. "It’s hugely expensive", admits Richardson.
The team, however, are cagey about the details of their technique until they are patented, describing them only as "beyond" existing techniques. The hush-hush attitude has raised hackles. "Not to show the results is inappropriate," says Balbaban.
In future, Richardson hopes to use the technique to shoot videos of many cell types and micro-organisms in action
HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service
Münster University chemists create new types of Lewis acids on the basis of phosphorus
22.10.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Obesity risk quantification:a jump towards the future through the artificial intelligence lens applied to lipid science
22.10.2019 | Technische Universität Dresden
Researchers have succeeded in creating an efficient quantum-mechanical light-matter interface using a microscopic cavity. Within this cavity, a single photon is emitted and absorbed up to 10 times by an artificial atom. This opens up new prospects for quantum technology, report physicists at the University of Basel and Ruhr-University Bochum in the journal Nature.
Quantum physics describes photons as light particles. Achieving an interaction between a single photon and a single atom is a huge challenge due to the tiny...
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
22.10.2019 | Materials Sciences
22.10.2019 | Medical Engineering
22.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering