Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Watching Cholera
10 November 2014

Watching Cholera

An estimated 3–5 million cases of cholera occur worldwide each year. Picked up from contaminated food and water, it badly affects areas of the developing world where access to clean drinking water is poor. The culprit bacteria Vibrio cholerae make their way to the intestine, where they infect the cells, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Using a technique called intravital two-photon fluorescence microscopy biologists are now able to visualise whereabouts in the intestine V. cholerae (pictured in green and red) is likely to target, and how. They found that where the cholera bug settled depended on a number of factors, such as the abundance of the normal gunky mucus layer formed from proteins called mucins and produced by the gut’s cells (blue), and how much the bacteria themselves moved. Being able to see the interplay between us and our tiny invaders could show new ways to halt infections.

Written by Katie Panteli

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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.

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