High definition televisions make everything look sharp and crisp – individual blades of grass sway on football fields, the occasional hair might be spotted on a celebrity’s chin. So just imagine what our insides might look like in HD. Here, a technique called Structured Illumination Microscopy was used to sharpen-up the textures of a single human cell. Hundreds of low-resolution images were taken from slightly different angles, then reconstructed into a high-resolution image to reveal tiny hidden structures. Rather than appearing as a blur, we can see individual ‘bones’ in the cytoplasm’s skeleton. Each microtubule, highlighted here in green, is 50,000 times smaller than a human rib and works to protect the cell’s precious energy factories, the mitochondria, highlighted in pink. One can only wonder about the future - what other hidden details might be revealed by pulling the world inside us into focus?
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.