When life takes shape

Credit: Daniel Rios/EMBL

Today’s picture of the week is not only a colourful one, it is also a snapshot of the vast number of shapes that the cells inside an animal body can adopt. How this variety comes about is investigated in the Leptin group at EMBL Heidelberg. 

To understand the shapes of the cells in fruit fly embryos, the group applies advanced imaging technologies, cell biology and genetics. At the bottom of this picture, you can see a cell of the future respiratory system of the fly, which is tubular and highly branched. Its structure is perfectly adapted to distribute air as efficiently as possible. The cell connects with a muscle cell – running diagonally across the picture.

The research in the Leptin group can help us to understand how cells with identical DNA can develop different shapes and thus fulfil their functions. Their model system is the fruit fly, but the results the group obtain can help us to understand developmental processes in other multicellular organisms like humans.

If you have a stunning picture of your science, your lab or your site, you can submit it here.

Tags: cells, Fruit fly, Leptin, Picture of the Week

More from this category

Picture of the week

To study the effect of commonly used drugs on bacterial envelopes, EMBL scientists applied a biochemical assay using a colour reaction. The deeper the red, the stronger the disruptive effect of the drug.

By  Marius Bruer

A metal rack holding glass test tubes with yellow and red solutions in them.


Read the latest Issues of our magazine - EMBLetc.

Looking for past print editions of EMBLetc.? Browse our archive, going back 20 years.

EMBLetc. archive