Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Fast Tracked

A novel way of shuttling cellular components in the developing fly egg revealed

14 March 2022

Fast Tracked

One of several motor proteins used to move cellular components around, dynein typically operates by latching onto a cargo, then dragging it along tracks laid down by cytoskeletal filaments called microtubules. Yet scientists studying egg production in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster recently described a totally different mode of action. In the egg chamber of female Drosophila (pictured), nurse cells (to the left) provide the developing oocyte (right) with proteins, organelles and RNA, through intercellular connections known as ring canals (pink, with microtubules in white). There, instead of shuttling cargo as usual, dynein, anchored to the inside of the cell membrane, moves the microtubules themselves, gliding them through; this motion drags cytoplasm along, bringing large amounts of particles with it for bulk delivery. As dynein is highly-conserved across species, and ring canals have also been found in egg-producing cells in vertebrates, including humans, this 'go-with-the-flow' transport could occur more widely.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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 with translations by the University of Valencia.