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Bryan Gorman
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Here are some images of an experiment we recently did with live human embryonic stem (hES) cells. The nucleus of the cells is stained blue (Hoechst stain for DNA), and mitochondria are stained green (MitoTracker stain). The cell membranes are not shown.

Mitochondria are best known as the "power plants" of the cell. But they also play an important role in apoptosis, that is, controlled cell death triggered by irreparable DNA damage or other stressors. One of the major regulated steps of apoptosis is permeabilization of the mitochondrial membrane, which releases the inner contents of the mitochondria into the rest of the cell. This is generally the "point of no return" after which the cell is committed to death. We are interested in understanding how genomic integrity is maintained in embryonic stem cells, and more broadly, in human development. Some of our experiments involve inducing DNA damage and measuring the cellular response.

The first two images of this set were taken just after adding a chemical agent called neocarzinostatin (NCS), which induces DNA damage (t=0h). The third and fourth images were taken of the same cells three hours later (t=3h). You can see most of the cells are dying three hours after NCS treatment. They are rounding up and detaching from the culture dish. Interestingly, the mitochondria seem to aggregate into foci near one part of the nucleus.

Photo credits: Anna Baccei, Bryan Gorman, Paul Lerou.
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2011-08-30
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2011-08-30
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I think Google+ could potentially be a great way for scientists to share pictures from their research with the public.
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