MICROSCOPY/CELL BIOLOGY: TIRF and confocal microscopy illustrate wound healing dynamics

Cell migration is critical to such biological functions as wound healing and cancer metastasis, which require that many cells move together. Now, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy is helping to understand how endocytosis—the process by which cells take in substances from their surroundings—could play a key role in the cell migration required for wound repair to the skin and internal organs.1

Working in the Birmingham Advanced Light Microscopy (BALM) facility, researchers at the University of Birmingham (England) have demonstrated that migrating cells take in proteins from their surface. To learn which of these proteins was the most important, the team identified two candidate molecules that they suspected played a key role in migration: These proteins help to anchor a cell in place and help it detect environmental changes.

TIRF microscopy shows occludin (red) in a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing cell on the edge of a wound
TIRF microscopy shows occludin (red) in a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing cell on the edge of a wound. (Image courtesy of Josh Rappoport, University of Birmingham)

The team initially expected that the cells on the edge of a wound would use endocytosis to draw in the molecules that make structures called focal adhesions, which allow a cell to cling to its surroundings. However, TIRF revealed that endocytosis was not involved in rearranging the focal adhesions during wound healing. Confocal microscopy then showed that a different protein, occludin, was being taken in via endocytosis.

In healthy tissue, occludin holds epithelial cells together to form a single flat layer. When the researchers created a layer of epithelial cells in culture and then made a wound, the cells on the edge pulled occludin in via endocytosis and then moved forward to fill the gap. But when the researchers added additional occludin to the spaces between cells, the wound was not filled as quickly.

1. S. J. Fletcher, N. S. Poulter, E. J. Haining, and J. Z. Rappoport, Biol. Cell, doi: 10.1111/boc.201100004 (2012).

More BioOptics World Current Issue Articles
More BioOptics World Archives Issue Articles

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

New bioimaging technique offers clear view of nervous system

Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians University have developed a technique for turning the body of a deceased rodent entirely transparent, revealing the central nervous system in unprecedented clarity....

Fluorescent jellyfish proteins light up unconventional laser

Safer lasers to map your cells could soon be in the offing -- all thanks to the humble jellyfish. Conventional lasers, like the pointer you might use to entertain your cat, produce light by emittin...

Fluorescence microscopy helps provide new insight into how cancer cells metastasize

By using fluorescence microscopy, scientists have discovered an alternate theory on how some cancer cells metastasize.

In vivo imaging method visualizes bone-resorbing cell function in real time

In vivo imaging can visualize sites where osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells) were in the process of resorbing bone.

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World