Across the Divide A dividing cell is one of the most…

Across the Divide

A dividing cell is one of the most recognisable images in biology, but it’s still quite mysterious. Hundreds of different proteins work together inside, like mechanical parts in a clock, ensuring cell division, or mitosis, happens on time – too slow, and there’s a risk of problems in development; yet cancers may form when division is too quick. A new interactive web site, MitoCheck, lets us watch fluorescently-labelled proteins side-by-side inside dividing human cancer cells – the results of many experiments using a combination of confocal microscopy techniques. Pooling the information together produces an interactive atlas of 28 proteins that will grow to hundreds in the next few years. Here five proteins, including AURKB (red), help share the cell’s DNA between the two daughter cells. MitoCheck will eventually provide a resource for researchers to compare hundreds of different protein combinations – learning more about life and disease as the entire cellular ‘clockwork’ emerges.

Written by John Ankers

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2018 October 21 Meteor, Comet, and Seagull (Nebula) Image…

2018 October 21

Meteor, Comet, and Seagull (Nebula)
Image Credit & Copyright: Takao Sambommatsu

Explanation: A meteor, a comet, and a photogenic nebula have all been captured in this single image. The closest and most fleeting is the streaking meteor on the upper right – it was visible for less than a second. The meteor, which disintegrated in Earth’s atmosphere, was likely a small bit of debris from the nucleus of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, coincidentally the comet captured in the same image. Comet 21P, pictured across the inner Solar System from Earth, is distinctive for its long dust tail spread horizontally across the image center. This comet has been visible with binoculars for the past few months but is now fading as it heads back out to the orbit of Jupiter. Farthest out at 3,500 light years distant is the IC 2177, the Seagull Nebula, visible on the left. The comparatively vast Seagull Nebula, with a wingspan on order 250 light-years, will likely remain visible for hundreds of thousands of years. Long exposures, taken about two weeks ago from Iwaki-City in Japan, were combined to capture the image’s faintest elements. You, too, could see a meteor like this – and perhaps sooner than you might think: tonight is the peak of the Orionids meteor shower.

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