Since the invention of the microscope in the 17th century, scientists have been developing ways to look at cells in ever greater detail. One major step forward was the development of dyes and markers that highlight specific molecules or cellular structures. They fluoresce under ultraviolet or laser light, illuminating the inner workings of cells under high-powered microscopes. These are HeLa cells, visualised using the very latest markers made from fluorescent proteins. The nuclei of the cells, containing DNA, is highlighted in yellow, while the cells’ ‘power factories’ (structures called mitochondria) are red. The little cyan blobs are the Golgi apparatus, which processes, modifies and packages freshly-made proteins. These are the brightest molecular labels available, and will be useful for researchers wanting to study how cells grow and change or compare the differences between healthy and diseased cells.
Written by Kat Arney
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.