Fresh Water Muscles
Just as tissues develop from a blend of different cells, our cells each have sets of proteins that must work together. Looking for clues to these delicate early relationships in human life, researchers turn to simpler, but genetically similar, organisms. In this four-day-old zebrafish larva, a high-powered microscope captures fin muscles forming. Ribbon-like muscle cells (with their nuclei stained blue) contain two different types of myosins (artificially coloured red and green): elastic proteins that will help the fin to pull and flip in the water. Researchers can compare changes in such vivid pictures to measure the effects of genetic mutations – examining how different genes balance the pattern of different myosins, or form the muscle as it develops. The shaping, or morphogenesis, of early zebrafish tissues may hint at how similar genes contribute to human skeletal muscle development.
Written by John Ankers
- Image by Massimo Ganassi, King’s College London. Winner of the British Society for Cell Biology 2018 Image Competition
- Randall Centre for Cell and Molecular Biophysics, King’s College London, London, UK
- Image copyright held by Massimo Ganassi
- Research published in Nature Communications, October 2018