3 December 2019 Black and blue hexagon shapes with some yellow and red hot spots

Skin mosaic

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This beautiful mosaic of mostly hexagonal cells is the outer skin layer of a zebrafish larva as seen under a microscope. Each skin cell exhibits a unique pattern of actin ridges. Actin is a family of globular multifunctional proteins found in almost all eukaryotic cells. Actin forms microfilaments,…



13 September 2009 In normal skin (left), the stem cells at the base, shown in green, differentiate into skin cells, shown in red. In mice whose skin has neither C/EBPα nor C/EBPβ (middle), this differentiation is blocked: green-labeled stem cells appear in upper layers of skin, and there are no differentiated skin cells (no red staining). This also happens at the initial stages of basal cell carcinomas. In skin where C/EBPα is present but has lost its capacity to interact with E2F, a molecule that regulates the cell cycle (right), skin cells start differentiating abnormally, before they have properly exited the stem cell ‘program’ (yellow/orange). This is similar to what is observed in the initial stages of squamous cell carcinomas, a more aggressive and invasive skin tumour.

How stem cells make skin

Science Stem cells have a unique ability: when they divide, they can either give rise to more stem cells, or to a variety of specialised cell types. In both mice and humans, a layer of cells at the base of the skin contains stem cells that can develop into the specialised cells in the layers above.…



5 December 2007

The closest look ever at native human tissue

Science Seeing proteins in their natural environment and interactions inside cells has been a longstanding goal. Using an advanced microscopy technique called cryo-electron tomography, researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have visualised proteins responsible for cell-cell…



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