ABOVE: Vascular system of a two-day-old zebrafish embryo (magenta: endothelial cells, light blue: blood cells)

Endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels, extend out of existing vessels to form new capillaries. During this process in zebrafish, these cells remain glued to each other, preventing hemorrhage, according to a study published August 31 in Nature Communications.

Using high-resolution time-lapse imaging, researchers peered into transparent zebrafish embryos undergoing vascularization. As the cytoskeleton within an endothelial cell helped it elongate and move ahead, an adhesion protein helped stick it to the next cell, while another protein strengthened the new joint. “This repetitive process enables the cell to slowly creep forward,” says coauthor Heinz-Georg Belting of the University of Basel, Switzerland, in a statement

I. Paatero et al., “Junction-based lamellipodia drive endothelial cell rearrangements in vivo via a VE-cadherin-F-actin based oscillatory cell-cell interaction,” Nat Commun...

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