After yesterday’s bit of whimsical late-night creativity, I thought that today might be a good time to share the results of the 2008 Wellcome Image Awards. These images have been captured using both traditional and cutting-edge imaging techniques, from the simple light microscope to the latest in computer-aided imaging. Their artistry is astounding, and brings to mind what a biophysicist colleague of mine told me last year – that whereas physics had little more than pretty equations and graphs to offer, biology was replete with fascinating images that capture the mind.
Credit Lorna McInroy, Wellcome Images: Cultured colon cancer cells showing the nuclei stained with DAPI in blue, the actin cytoskeleton in red and plectin (isoform 1k) in green. Plectin interacts with cytoskeletal actin, affecting its behaviour. This subtype of plectin promotes the migration of cells and may affect metastasis.
Credit Anne Weston, Wellcome Images: Colour-enhanced image of red blood cells leaking out of a ruptured blood vessel. This is due to a mutation in the ephrin-B2 gene that causes the blood vessels to be more fragile than normal leading to an increased rate of haemorrhaging. The fragility is due to the inadequate coverage of the vessel by smooth muscle cells. This kind of leaky blood vessel is frequently found in tumours and in certain other human diseases.
Credit MRC Lab of Molecular Biology, Wellcome Images: Molecular model of a bacterial ribosome showing the RNA and protein components in the form of ribbon models. In the large (50S) subunit the 23S RNA is shown in cyan, the 5S RNA in green and the associated proteins in purple. In the small (30S) subunit the 16S RNA is shown in yellow and the proteins in orange. The three solid elements in the centre of the ribosome, coloured green, red and reddish brown are the transfer RNAs (tRNAs) in the A, P and E sites respectively. The anticodon loops of the tRNAs are buried in a cleft in the small subunit where they interact with mRNA. The other ends of the tRNA, which carry the peptide and amino acid, are buried in the peptidyl transferase centre of the large subunit, where peptide bond formation occurs.
Credit Yirui Sun, Wellcome Images: Mouse neural stem cells, labelled with green fluorescent protein, have been transplanted into the brain of a newborn mouse and are developing into oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.