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Press Release 05-216

Modified Microscope Proves Critical to Uncovering Cell-growth Secret

Tiny cantilevers track movements of cell scaffolding

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An immune cell known as a macrophage pursues bacteria.

A window into the cell reveals the actin network and organelles inside a macrophage as it pursues bacterial invaders. Actin forms long filaments that lie just beneath the surface of the cell, giving it structure and stability. As the immune cell crawls and looks for invaders, such as the bacterium E. coli, new actin growth helps to push the cell forward. Researchers used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to study aspects of actin growth.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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The bright areas on the top edge of this fish cell depict growing actin networks.

Actin in this fish cell is stained with a red fluorescent dye. The bright areas on the top edge depict growing actin networks.

Credit: University of California, Berkeley


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