What looks like a photo-series of an explosive eruption are actually uptaking proteins, captured by Markus Mund from the Ries Group at EMBL Heidelberg.
The images were made in an attempt to learn how the different proteins that take up molecules into the cells via endocytosis – the cellular process in which substances are brought into a cell – are arranged on the nanoscale when they are recruited to the plasma membrane, where they perform this uptake.
Super-resolution microscopy was used to capture these stunning images. In total, endocytic proteins were imaged at more than 100,000 sites of endocytosis in yeast! The images showed that these proteins are organised in ‘nano-rings’ around each other. These rings form a template for the recruitment of the protein actin. As actin produces the force to pull in the membrane around the cargo, this ring pattern is crucial for efficient endocytosis.
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It’s almost a year since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, affecting all our lives. While the virus continues its grip on the world, scientists are understanding it better and better, increasing our knowledge about it and opening up new ways to fight it.