Image of the Day: Immune Cell In Action

By combining two new microscopy technologies, researchers filmed immune cells toiling away in the inner ear of a living zebrafish.

Apr 23, 2018
The Scientist Staff

An immune cell migrates inside a zebrafish’s inner ear while scooping up particles of sugar (blue) along the way.MARTIN LOPEZ-GARCIA

Eric Betzig, a physicist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and colleagues merged two microscopy techniques to create a 3-D video of immune cells moving through a zebrafish’s inner ear. They reported their findings last week (April 19) in Science.

They combined adaptive optics, which astronomers use to get clear pictures of celestial bodies through the haze of Earth’s atmosphere, with lattice light sheet microscopy to build 3-D pictures of the immune cells. The microscope they built is 10 feet long, and is “a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster right now,” says Betzig in a statement. His team is working on producing a second-generation model that would be much smaller.

T. Liu et al., “Observing the cell in its native state: Imaging subcellular dynamics in multicellular organisms,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aaq1392, 2018.