Revealing actin molecules in live nerve cells

Every cell contains molecules that regulate its shape and mediate intracellular transport. One of these molecules is called actin. In muscles, actin allows for contraction and relaxation. In neurons, actin has many functions. One of them is to form and regulate structures specialized for receiving information. Thin ones are called filopodia; thicker and more elaborate ones are called spines. The picture shows actin (in different colors) in four different live cells At the same time the shape and number of filopodia and spines is revealed. These structures change, in particular during forming, maintaining and losing memories.


Image details

Image acquisition technique: epifluorescence.
Guest contribution from our friends and colleagues at the European Neuroscience Institute (ENI – Goettingen)
Courtesy A. Awasthi, C. Dean / ENI, CNMPB