Sea anemones are amazing creatures. Despite their plant-like appearance and their tendency to remain fixed in one spot, they are actually animals. This image, showing the top part of a Nematostella vectensis polyp in side view, was taken by Anniek Stokkermans, a PhD student in the Ikmi group at EMBL Heidelberg, in cooperation with ZEISS.
This discovery showed that sea anemones are well suited subjects for studies of morphogenesis – the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape – in the context of organism–environment interactions.
The image was taken with a ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7. Cell nuclei are visible in blue; actin – an important protein in the sea anemone’s muscle cells – in orange.
Credit: Anniek Stokkermans/EMBL/ZEISS
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The nucleus of this cell fluoresces in bright green thanks to GFP-labelled nucleoporin proteins. EMBL scientists use engineered nucleoporins as 3D reference standards to improve super-resolution microscopy.