IMAGES: Lighting Up Plant Cells

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Science  09 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5621, pp. 873
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5621.873e

Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has allowed researchers to peer into the bustling world inside cells. Cell and developmental biologists use the glowing molecule, originally discovered in jellyfish, to track molecules and cellular components. To see what GFP has revealed about the inner workings of plant cells, check out this gallery of stills and movies compiled by David Ehrhardt and colleagues at the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Stanford. You can watch chromosomes pulling apart during cell division and follow the elongation of microtubules, thin structures that help prop up a cell. Ehrhardt and colleagues have discovered that the tiny tubes move by “treadmilling,” building up one end and breaking down the opposite end. The protein can also highlight details of particular structures, such as the growing tip of a root and the pores known as stomata. Here, GFP bound to cell membranes emphasizes the irregular surface of a young leaf.

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