While your skeleton helps your body to move, fine skeleton-like filaments within your cells likewise help cellular structures to move. Now, researchers have developed a new imaging method that lets them monitor a small subset of these filaments, called actin.
Actin is the most abundant protein in the cell, so when you image it, it’s all over the cell. Until now, it’s been really hard to tell where individual actin molecules of interest are, because it’s difficult to separate the relevant signal from all the background.
With the new imaging method, the research team has been able to home in on how actin mediates an important function: helping the cellular “power stations” known as mitochondria divide in two. The work could provide a better understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction, which has been linked to cancer, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases.