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The Beauty of Smooth Muscle

We humans have long wondered how, exactly, we develop from embryos into adults. This photo of an embryonic smooth muscle cell hints at the tremendous complexity of this fundamental biological mystery. And for those of you who might be wondering just what smooth muscles are, they’re the involuntary muscles found in places like the walls of our blood vessels, the digestive tract, the bladder, and the respiratory system.

This exquisite photo was produced using laser scanning confocal microscopy — a precise imaging method that includes the dimension of depth for scientific analysis. Here, green is used to label thin filaments of the protein actin, which is a key component of the cell’s cytoskeleton, and blue indicates another protein, called vinculin, which is enriched in locations involved in cell-cell adhesion.

Slowly but surely, using all the technology and tools available to us, we are unraveling the mysteries of biology — and turning our discoveries into health.

3 comments to The Beauty of Smooth Muscle

  • Gorby

    wow, is this really true?? it’s amazing.. vinculin, is new to my ears. :D

  • Alex Robertson

    Hello again to Dr. Collins from your Oak Grove graduate. I love this picture and info. Since we last corresponded, 3/27/12, I contracted West Nile poliomyelitis and am still shuffling about 6 mos later. But I can still work in clinic which is a gift. Hope all is well with you. Alex

  • blackmagic

    Science and technology has excelled beyond humans belief. Congratulations Dr. Collins you surely will unravel the mysteries of biology