Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Foot Down

Super resolution microscopy reveals cytoskeleton organisation and forces at play in cell adhesion

27 May 2021

Foot Down

Dotted around on the inner surface of our cells, focal adhesions act like tiny 'feet', but how they sense the floor is still a little mysterious. In this mammalian cell, scientists use their own sensors to snoop on what’s going on using super-resolution microscopy. One sensor sticks to a molecule called integrin on the underside of the cell, stretching as it wriggles to release tiny bursts of light (red dots). The speckled pattern suggests clusters of integrin may determine where focal adhesions form inside the cell – seen as clusters of tiny bone-like actin filaments in the cell’s cytoskeleton (yellow showing the filaments closest to the underlying surface, blue furthest away). Researchers might aim to exploit this mechanical link between neighbouring molecules inside and outside cells to guide their movement in health and disease.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.