Molecular Motors at Work?

Is this a case of apoptosis behaving badly? Looks like “endosymbionts” heading for the hills.

This was scanned from the original 35 mm negative taken at 400x under a UV microscope. and enlarged. It appears like a colony of  microorganisms migrating through a series of tubules. There is both RNA and DNA staining, suggesting these are more than just mere blobs of degrading DNA. Remarkably, this structure came from a sterile culture of mouse L-1210 cells.

Are these endosymbiotic compartments that have escaped the clutches of apoptosis?

On first glance, these look like colony of yeast, but they are not. They are deconstructions of mouse L-1210 cells.

What are these tendrils that project out from the apoptotic bodies, pushing discrete objects before them?

The three photographs above may represent instances in which both necrosis and apoptosis have been artificially interrupted by dilution or inactivation of key elements. The “tubules” are most likely composed of cytoskeletal structural proteins like actin coupled with motor proteins that push the brightly staining objects away from the main core.

This rosetted “bead” was scanned from a 35 mm negative and enlarged to obtain more resolution. Note the concentric arrangement of beaded circles within this structure.

There are striking parallels between the photomicrographs shown in the link to the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry listed below compared to the ones you can view on this page just beneath it. I would paste pictures of them here but there are copyright issues.

Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry, Vol. 45, 1097-1108, Copyright © 1997 by The Histochemical Society, Inc. (pdf download available)

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Beaded elements can fuse into larger irregular structures
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Most of these scanning electron micrographs have never been shown before. They were also taken during the same time period as the other photographs shown on the 1999 website.

Figure 1 is highly suggestive of some kind of compartmentalization. It is unclear whether this is an entire collapsed mouse L-1210 cell or a subcompartment. The letter “A” shows internal compartmentalization within the interior that is itself compartmentalized into smaller granular structures. The letter “B” shows one of a number of elongate “spoke-like” structures surrounding the inner compartment. The letter “C” shows a definite boundary to the entire structure.

Figure 2 appears to be a degraded version of the structure seen in Figure 1. Some of the compartments have migrated to the exterior with two smaller ones remaining in the center. It is unclear if these peripheral structures were generated from “A” or “B”. The letter “D” shows two of these outer compartments.

Figure 3 is similar to Figure 2. However, there is a much larger inner compartment within the hub of the circular structure.

Figure 4 shows a different compartment in a different phase of degradation. Note the larger compartment above it at the top of the picture (partially cut off).

Figure 5 is the same compartment shown in Figure 4 with the magnification increased from 50x to 300x. Note that there appears to be two different kinds of degrading structures associated with this compartment. The structures denoted by letter “A” may be equivalent to those shown in Figure 1. The structures denoted by the letter “B” may be equivalent to those shown in Figure 1. One of the inner granular structures is denoted by the letter “AA”, indicating it is a subcomponent of “A”. The outer material denoted by the letter “E” contains a diffuse arrangement of small black globular elements which are suggestive of those seen in other photomicrographs shown at the 1999 website (e.g. Figures 8a and 8b).

Figure 6 is similar to Figure 5 but with a noticeable absence of any “A” structures.  The membranous structures labeled “C” may be analogous to the same structure shown in Figure 1.

Figure 7 has an inner, flattened convoluted structure labeled “AA”.  Compare this to the granulated structures shown in Figure 5 (AA).

Figure 8 is the same structure shown in Figure 3 as indicated by the yellow line. It has been magnified from 400x to 9,000x. Note that it is a hollow structure, suggesting something from within has been discharged.

The letter “D” in Figure 9 indicates  the same structures shown in Figure 2.  The magnification has been increased from 400x to 2,000x. 

SLIDE ONE (click image above to enlarge)

SLIDE TWO (click image to enlarge)

SLIDE THREE (click image to enlarge)

3 Responses to Photographs

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