Multispectral imaging takes information not visible to the naked eye and gives it a ‘false colour’. Features that were invisible become obvious. First used to analyse distant nebula, here it has been adapted to track cells in a chick embryo in 3D and in real time. When a fertilised egg develops to become a fully formed chick there is a strictly programmed pattern of movement, or migration, of cells to different areas of the transforming body. Pictured is a snap-shot of migrating cells. The control centre (nucleus) inside each is false-coloured yellow and the outside surfaces of different cells have been false-coloured red or blue. Using this technology, the finger-like extensions cells use to connect with their neighbours are visible for the first time in a live embryo. Tracking these microspikes helps researchers understand how the chemical messages that dictate the pattern of migration, are shared between cells.
Written by Julie Webb
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.