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Cactus roots at high magnification
Plants are active communicators capable of warning nearby plants of an impending insect infestation when they themselves are being eaten alive. They can also execute surprisingly sophisticated interpretations of their surroundings. Plants can compute their survival chances with a cost-benefit analysis of available resources. They can distinguish between positive and negative experiences and are even capable of forming memories from stressful events. They can recognize self vs. non-self, taking over territory from plants they deem weaker. As plants rapidly exchange chemicals and genetic material with other species, they constantly update their own behavior to better compete for light and food in order to survive.
Image by Matt Sharp.

Cactus roots at high magnification

Plants are active communicators capable of warning nearby plants of an impending insect infestation when they themselves are being eaten alive. They can also execute surprisingly sophisticated interpretations of their surroundings. Plants can compute their survival chances with a cost-benefit analysis of available resources. They can distinguish between positive and negative experiences and are even capable of forming memories from stressful events. They can recognize self vs. non-self, taking over territory from plants they deem weaker. As plants rapidly exchange chemicals and genetic material with other species, they constantly update their own behavior to better compete for light and food in order to survive.

Image by Matt Sharp.

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Vascular smooth muscle cells
Our hearts pump some 50 million gallons of blood in our lifetime, and our arteries take a beating because of it. Arteries have the critical task of withstanding the high blood pressure that comes with each heart stroke. To do this, arteries are lined with thick vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) that contract and relax to control blood pressure and secrete proteins to cushion against each and every heartbeat. In this image, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into VSMCs as shown by smooth muscle-specific markers in red and green. Creating VSMCs will be useful to study vascular abnormalities found in several diseases, including muscular dystrophy.
Image by Leslie Caron.

Vascular smooth muscle cells

Our hearts pump some 50 million gallons of blood in our lifetime, and our arteries take a beating because of it. Arteries have the critical task of withstanding the high blood pressure that comes with each heart stroke. To do this, arteries are lined with thick vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) that contract and relax to control blood pressure and secrete proteins to cushion against each and every heartbeat. In this image, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into VSMCs as shown by smooth muscle-specific markers in red and green. Creating VSMCs will be useful to study vascular abnormalities found in several diseases, including muscular dystrophy.

Image by Leslie Caron.

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This is a user submitted image!
Neuromuscular junctions in fruit flies
Our nerves send chemical signals to muscle fibers in order to stimulate muscle contraction, resulting in movement and locomotion. For this to happen, the ends of nerve fibers must be in very close proximity to the muscle—and we mean very close: The average space of a neuromuscular junction is just 30 nanometers, which is over 2,600-times smaller than the width of a human hair. In this neuromuscular junction of a fruit fly, nerve terminals (in red) can be seen intermingling with structural components (in green and blue). Diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy destabilize the structural integrity of neuromuscular junctions, greatly impairing muscle movement and strength.
Image by Vanessa Auld, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Neuromuscular junctions in fruit flies

Our nerves send chemical signals to muscle fibers in order to stimulate muscle contraction, resulting in movement and locomotion. For this to happen, the ends of nerve fibers must be in very close proximity to the muscle—and we mean very close: The average space of a neuromuscular junction is just 30 nanometers, which is over 2,600-times smaller than the width of a human hair. In this neuromuscular junction of a fruit fly, nerve terminals (in red) can be seen intermingling with structural components (in green and blue). Diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy destabilize the structural integrity of neuromuscular junctions, greatly impairing muscle movement and strength.

Image by Vanessa Auld, University of British Columbia, Canada.

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Skin cell division
Cell division is the essential process by which all living things reproduce, but many hurdles must be jumped in order for division to be successful. A cell will literally disassemble, replicate, and reorganize nearly all of its structures, partitioning its contents into two newly born daughter cells. In these mouse skin cells, the middle cell has condensed its replicated DNA (in white) and rounded up to facilitate this reorganization. Cells must also decide how they will distribute proteins to each daughter. Here, a protein known as Celsr1 (in red) has been internalized from the cell membrane. Once division is complete, these proteins will be redistributed back to their correct locations within the newly formed cells.
Image captured and submitted by Joel Tamayo, Princeton University.

Skin cell division

Cell division is the essential process by which all living things reproduce, but many hurdles must be jumped in order for division to be successful. A cell will literally disassemble, replicate, and reorganize nearly all of its structures, partitioning its contents into two newly born daughter cells. In these mouse skin cells, the middle cell has condensed its replicated DNA (in white) and rounded up to facilitate this reorganization. Cells must also decide how they will distribute proteins to each daughter. Here, a protein known as Celsr1 (in red) has been internalized from the cell membrane. Once division is complete, these proteins will be redistributed back to their correct locations within the newly formed cells.

Image captured and submitted by Joel Tamayo, Princeton University.

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Macrophages in a mouse liver
Found in practically all tissues, macrophages (in blue) are the hungry cells of the immune system. They gobble up dying cells and harmful pathogens like bacteria to ensure tissues are happy and healthy. When a tissue is damaged, young macrophages are recruited by the bucket-load to the site of injury where they mature to speed up wound repair and eat trespassing bacteria. Some bacteria, like the one responsible for tuberculosis, can survive even after being eaten, eventually killing the macrophage and accelerating its spread within the tissue.
Image by Hendrik Herrmann.

Macrophages in a mouse liver

Found in practically all tissues, macrophages (in blue) are the hungry cells of the immune system. They gobble up dying cells and harmful pathogens like bacteria to ensure tissues are happy and healthy. When a tissue is damaged, young macrophages are recruited by the bucket-load to the site of injury where they mature to speed up wound repair and eat trespassing bacteria. Some bacteria, like the one responsible for tuberculosis, can survive even after being eaten, eventually killing the macrophage and accelerating its spread within the tissue.

Image by Hendrik Herrmann.

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Spiryogyra
Spirogyra, a type of green algae, is common to freshwater areas and consists of over 400 currently described species. Spirogyra is so named because its light-absorbing chloroplasts are arranged in a prominent spiral shape running along the length of each cell. Commonly found in clean waters, this algae’s outer cell wall can dissolve in water, making it slimy to touch.
Image captured and submitted by Dennis Quertermous, University of Alabama.

Spiryogyra

Spirogyra, a type of green algae, is common to freshwater areas and consists of over 400 currently described species. Spirogyra is so named because its light-absorbing chloroplasts are arranged in a prominent spiral shape running along the length of each cell. Commonly found in clean waters, this algae’s outer cell wall can dissolve in water, making it slimy to touch.

Image captured and submitted by Dennis Quertermous, University of Alabama.

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