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HighMag is a blog for great cell biological images. We post images that are visually striking, biologically interesting, and technically challenging.

Erin Campbell
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  • April 10, 2014
  • 03:40 PM

April 10, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

When you host a party at your home, do you hire a caterer to bring in food or do you cook the food right there in your kitchen? One of these options leaves a lot more wiggle room for last-minute changes—a few extra guests, a gluten allergy, a pregnant lady with a disgust for wobbly deserts. A cell recognizes this distinction too. When making certain proteins, a cell will synthesize proteins where and when they’re needed. Today’s image is from Natasha Gutierrez, who recently published a........ Read more »

  • April 2, 2014
  • 02:59 PM

April 2, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Nuclear envelope breakdown is far prettier than my own breakdown when I realized that Girl Scout “cookie season” is over. Today’s image is from a paper that describes the importance of SUN proteins in nuclear envelope breakdown.Early in mitosis, a cell’s nuclear envelope breaks down to allow the attachment of chromosomes to the mitotic spindle. Nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD) depends on a tearing process, during which microtubules pull the nuclear envelope towards the centrosomes. T........ Read more »

Turgay, Y., Champion, L., Balazs, C., Held, M., Toso, A., Gerlich, D., Meraldi, P., & Kutay, U. (2014) SUN proteins facilitate the removal of membranes from chromatin during nuclear envelope breakdown. The Journal of Cell Biology, 204(7), 1099-1109. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201310116  

  • March 27, 2014
  • 07:31 AM

March 27, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

You might think of your bones as unchanging, but they are far more dynamic than you think. Today’s image is from a paper identifying a new blood vessel subtype found in the mouse skeletal system.Osteogenesis is the formation of new bone tissue, and is important in bone renewal and fracture healing. Recent work suggests that osteogenesis may depend on the presence of blood vessels. A recent paper identified a new capillary subtype found in the mouse skeletal system. Kusumbe and colleagues f........ Read more »

  • March 19, 2014
  • 07:26 AM

March 19, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Migration fingers are the spirit fingers of a migrating epithelial sheet of cells. Woowoo!! Today’s image is from a cool paper on the forces exerted by a migration finger, so naturally I’m showing my enthusiasm with my own spirit fingers. Cells can migrate on their own or as part of an epithelial sheet of many cells. Collective migration features the forward movement of multicellular migration fingers, and can be seen throughout development, in spreading tumors and in healing wounds. The........ Read more »

Reffay, M., Parrini, M., Cochet-Escartin, O., Ladoux, B., Buguin, A., Coscoy, S., Amblard, F., Camonis, J., & Silberzan, P. (2014) Interplay of RhoA and mechanical forces in collective cell migration driven by leader cells. Nature Cell Biology, 16(3), 217-223. DOI: 10.1038/ncb2917  

  • March 12, 2014
  • 08:00 AM

March 12, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

I love a lot of things that are rings, especially donuts. Turns out, though, that ring chromosomes are terrible news. A recent paper shows the loss of ring chromosomes when cells are reprogrammed, suggesting possible ‘chromosome therapy’ through cell reprogramming. Ring chromosomes form when the two arms of a chromosome fuse, and are sometimes associated with large terminal deletions. These ring chromosomes lead to birth defects, mental disabilities, and growth retardation. Unfortunately........ Read more »

Bershteyn, M., Hayashi, Y., Desachy, G., Hsiao, E., Sami, S., Tsang, K., Weiss, L., Kriegstein, A., Yamanaka, S., & Wynshaw-Boris, A. (2014) Cell-autonomous correction of ring chromosomes in human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature, 507(7490), 99-103. DOI: 10.1038/nature12923  

  • March 5, 2014
  • 07:00 AM

March 5, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Mitochondria are the cellular power plants, but bigger power plants are not always a good thing. Defects in the regulation of mitochondrial size and dynamics can cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Today’s image is from a paper describing an important player in mitochondrial division, or fission. Mitochondria serve as the cellular power plants due to their production of ATP, the cell’s energy source, and are quite dynamic, with fusion and fission events occurring ........ Read more »

Korobova, F., Gauvin, T., & Higgs, H. (2014) A Role for Myosin II in Mammalian Mitochondrial Fission. Current Biology, 24(4), 409-414. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.032  

  • February 26, 2014
  • 03:14 PM

Febrary 26, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Not all stem cells are created equally. Some are totipotent, meaning they can divide and differentiate into any cell type, while some are unipotent, meaning they can differentiate into one specific cell type. Understanding the potenty of various stem cells is an important step towards understanding how tissues are developed, remodeled, and maintained. Today’s beautiful images are from a study of stem cells in the mammary gland. Mammary glands go through a lot of changes during both puberty and........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2014
  • 02:32 PM

February 19, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

It will take cell biologists an eternity to understand how cells function in a dish. It will take developmental biologists even longer to understand how cells function within a developing organism. Today’s image is from a paper describing the use of liquid droplets as cell biological crash test dummies to determine cell-generated forces within living tissue. The development of an organism and the generation of its organs depend on mechanical forces that can move cells and groups of cells. T........ Read more »

Campàs O, Mammoto T, Hasso S, Sperling RA, O'Connell D, Bischof AG, Maas R, Weitz DA, Mahadevan L, & Ingber DE. (2014) Quantifying cell-generated mechanical forces within living embryonic tissues. Nature methods, 11(2), 183-9. PMID: 24317254  

  • February 13, 2014
  • 02:06 PM

February 13, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Whenever I’m lucky enough to make it down the road to the amazing Georgia Aquarium, I find myself glued to the jellyfish tanks. I have always loved watching the graceful movements of the jellies, and as a cell biologist my fluorescently-tagged appreciation runs deep. Today’s image is from a paper describing the molecular pathways in jellyfish development. The phylum Cnidaria are made of organisms that cycle through two completely different stages—polyps and jellyfish. The polyp-to-jelly........ Read more »

Björn Fuchs, Wei Wang, Simon Graspeuntner, Yizhu Li, Santiago Insua, Eva-Maria Herbst, Philipp Dirksen, Anna-Marei Böhm, Georg Hemmrich, Felix Sommer, Tomislav Domazet-Lošo, Ulrich C. Klostermeier, Friederike Anton-Erxleben, Philip Rosenstiel, Thomas C. (2014) Regulation of Polyp-to-Jellyfish Transition in Aurelia aurita. Current Biology, 24(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.003  

  • February 5, 2014
  • 02:28 PM

February 5, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

The next time you try swatting away that little fruit fly from a neighboring lab while you enjoy your midday coffee break, take a beat and appreciate how stinkin’ purrrty those flies are. Today’s image features the developing egg of the fruit fly, and accompanies a paper describing the important role for prostaglandins in the (very photogenic) process. Prostaglandins (PGs) are small lipids that act as signaling molecules in various physiological processes such as pain, inflammation, and pla........ Read more »

Andrew J. Spracklen, Daniel J. Kelpsch, Xiang Chen, Cassandra N. Spracklen, & Tina L. Tootle. (2014) Prostaglandins temporally regulate cytoplasmic actin bundle formation during Drosophila oogenesis . Molecular Biology of the Cell, 25(3). DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E13-07-0366  

  • January 15, 2014
  • 07:00 AM

January 15, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

The mitotic spindle seems to get all the fun of a microtubule-dynein party, but do not fret. A recent paper describes some cool interactions of microtubules with dynein at the cell’s cortex. The molecular motor dynein walks along microtubules, and this movement can do great things by moving the microtubules themselves or moving material along the microtubule. Recent work found that dynein at the cell’s cortex may influence cell motility using an actin-independent mechanism that pushes micr........ Read more »

Tomáš Mazel, Anja Biesemann, Magda Krejczy, Janos Nowald, Olga Müller, & Leif Dehmelt. (2014) Direct observation of microtubule pushing by cortical dynein in living cells. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 25(1). DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E13-07-0376  

  • July 17, 2013
  • 02:21 PM

July 17, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel (even if someone tried to in 2001).  We use the wheel for so many things ranging from transport to energy (water wheels).  Cells have proven clever at co-opting machinery for multiple processes, as the paper from today’s image describes.  This recent paper shows the use of specific machinery in both cytokinesis and neuronal migration.When neurons migrate, there is a leading process in the front of the cell body and a trailing process.  ........ Read more »

Aditi Falnikar, Shubha Tole, Mei Liu, Judy S. Liu, & Peter W. Baas. (2013) Polarity in Migrating Neurons Is Related to a Mechanism Analogous to Cytokinesis. Current Biology, 23(13), 1215-1220. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.027  

  • July 10, 2013
  • 03:30 PM

July 10, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

The grace of a migrating cell is as deceiving as a pair of Spanx on an English Bulldog… there is a lot going underneath.  Today’s image is from a paper showing the importance of the protein vinculin at the leading edge of a migrating cell.Cell migration is driven by actin filament polymerization that pushes the leading edge of the cell forward, as well as F-actin retrograde flow.  Focal adhesions (FAs) adhere the crawling cell to the underlying extracellular matrix (ECM), and are a........ Read more »

Thievessen I, Thompson PM, Berlemont S, Plevock KM, Plotnikov SV, Zemljic-Harpf A, Ross RS, Davidson MW, Danuser G, Campbell SL.... (2013) Vinculin-actin interaction couples actin retrograde flow to focal adhesions, but is dispensable for focal adhesion growth. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 202(1), 163-77. PMID: 23836933  

  • July 2, 2013
  • 07:00 AM

July 2, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Timing is everything….from the fluke encounter in a romantic comedy, to your rush to make the bus/train/plane this morning, to the development of an organism. Today’s image is from a paper describing the temporal patterning involved in the development of the fruit fly optic lobe.In the fruit fly optic lobe, the medulla processes visual information using 40,000 neurons of over 70 different cell types. The medulla develops from a crescent-shaped tissue from which the neuronal progenitors div........ Read more »

Li X, Erclik T, Bertet C, Chen Z, Voutev R, Venkatesh S, Morante J, Celik A, & Desplan C. (2013) Temporal patterning of Drosophila medulla neuroblasts controls neural fates. Nature, 498(7455), 456-62. PMID: 23783517  

  • June 25, 2013
  • 04:05 PM

June 25, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

 Maybe you’ve been cruising in your minivan blasting “The Wheels on the Bus” too loudly for your preschooler, or maybe you’re preparing to hear the witching hour’s cries of a newborn due soon (this blog is way too autobiographical).  Either way, our ears endure a lot of stress from loud sounds throughout our lives.  The images above are from a paper describing a mechanism for handling this stress.Our inner ear hair cells detect sound when stereocilia projections are defl........ Read more »

Indzhykulian AA, Stepanyan R, Nelina A, Spinelli KJ, Ahmed ZM, Belyantseva IA, Friedman TB, Barr-Gillespie PG, & Frolenkov GI. (2013) Molecular remodeling of tip links underlies mechanosensory regeneration in auditory hair cells. PLoS biology, 11(6). PMID: 23776407  

  • June 21, 2013
  • 07:48 AM

June 21, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Good things come in small packages.  Maybe I’m referring to the burst of antioxidants jammed into tiny blueberries.  Maybe I’m referring to my tiny three year-old who yells, “Come oooon, THAT was funny!” when I don’t laugh loudly enough at her jokes.  Or maybe I’m referring to C. elegans.  These worms are tiny, but pack a serious punch of significant biology that helps us learn about important cellular processes.  Today’s image is from a paper that serves a........ Read more »

Hagedorn, E., Ziel, J., Morrissey, M., Linden, L., Wang, Z., Chi, Q., Johnson, S., & Sherwood, D. (2013) The netrin receptor DCC focuses invadopodia-driven basement membrane transmigration in vivo. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 201(6), 903-913. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201301091  

  • June 18, 2013
  • 03:31 PM

June 18, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

The study of how cells move in development is not just about development.  Understanding cell migration can also help researchers understand how tumors spread and invade other tissues.  So, the next time you see someone roll their eyes at your fruit fly egg chambers (or worm vulva, or culture dishes), take pity at their ignorance and explain to them how they should thank you instead.The movement of cells during development drives the shape changes and organization of an embryo.  I........ Read more »

Lucas, E., Khanal, I., Gaspar, P., Fletcher, G., Polesello, C., Tapon, N., & Thompson, B. (2013) The Hippo pathway polarizes the actin cytoskeleton during collective migration of Drosophila border cells. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 201(6), 875-885. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201210073  

  • June 11, 2013
  • 04:06 PM

June 11, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

 I’m willing to bet that most scientists were pretty destructive as kids.  Not intentionally destructive, though…I bet we all liked taking things apart to see what each part of a toy did.  Maybe your Teddy Ruxpin eventually sounded like a demonic doll after your experiments, or you finally pulled apart your Etch-A-Sketch to uncover the magic.  Either way, it was early training for what scientists do every day to understand cells better.  Today’s image is from a pap........ Read more »

Schiller, H., Hermann, M., Polleux, J., Vignaud, T., Zanivan, S., Friedel, C., Sun, Z., Raducanu, A., Gottschalk, K., Théry, M.... (2013) β1- and αv-class integrins cooperate to regulate myosin II during rigidity sensing of fibronectin-based microenvironments. Nature Cell Biology, 15(6), 625-636. DOI: 10.1038/ncb2747  

  • June 4, 2013
  • 04:20 PM

June 4, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

HighMag is back from an early summer vacation at the beach, and ready to get our microscopic groove on.  Happy Summer, everyone!Our world is the same size it’s always been, but so many advances in technology have made the world seem a lot smaller.  We can call our brother across the country and video chat with our sister on the other side of the world, all while searching the internet for the lyrics to Snow’s “Informer” (side note…knowing the lyrics won’t help you understan........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2013
  • 07:00 AM

May 24, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

There isn’t a cell biologist out there who doesn’t fantasize about reaching her hands into a cell and physically manipulating whatever protein or structure that she obsesses over.  While we can’t do that with our own hands, optical tweezers can…and the information we learn is invaluable.  Today’s image is from a paper that uses optical tweezers to measure the forces within a mitotic spindle.The mechanics within a mitotic spindle are complicated, and cannot be fully understood........ Read more »

Ferraro-Gideon, J., Sheykhani, R., Zhu, Q., Duquette, M., Berns, M., & Forer, A. (2013) Measurements of forces produced by the mitotic spindle using optical tweezers. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 24(9), 1375-1386. DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E12-12-0901  

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