A suspension-cultured tobacco BY-2 cell in late stages of mitosis/cell division:

green Cytokinetic phragmoplast microtubules (anti-tubulin/FITC)
orange Expanding cell plate dividing the two forming cells (presumptive anti-callose/rhodamine)
blue Chromosomes that will be the nuclei of the two new cells (DAPI)

Image fuzzy (256 colors)? Check these 3 separate grayscale images from which this color composite was made.
In an earlier stage (not shown), the chromosomes (DNA specially packaged for easy separation during cell division) were separated by microtubules of the mitotic spindle apparatus. The microtubules have now formed the phragmoplast (cytokinetic array) and are involved in depositing materials for forming the cell plate which will serve as the dividing wall between the new "two cells where once there was one."

Can you pick out similar stages from this gallery?   (and one more sample)
This is a colorized and merged composite of 3 separate grayscale images (see how) recorded with different microscopy settings. Depth is evident, but the topography of chromosomes and the fibrous microtubules of the phragmoplast are sharper in the 3 original grayscale images ("MT"=microtubule). The color composite, however, better illustrates spatial arrangements*. "Confocal microscopy" does both and more (read on).
*Here's a gallery of color composites, linked to grayscale images. (+another)
The image has depth, but out-of-focus fluorescence obscures crisp details. Not so with confocal microscopy in which only specimen fluorescence from the focussed, 2-D plane ("optical cross-section") is recorded. Successive planes make a "z-series" (vs. the x,y plane) which a computer reassembles into a "stack" to represent the whole specimen, but without out-of-focus fluorescence. Below, you'll see single images from stacks, and animations that flip through the whole series as well as rotate the stack in 3-D -- the ultimate in appreciating spatial arrangement in cells.
The animations on following pages are GIF files which any graphical browser can display, regardless of platform (e.g., Mac or PC). Each takes a moment to load then runs smoothly. Other available formats (AVI, MOV, MPEG) are indicated. next p. in this sectionConfocal animations

©1996 Neil A Durso, III

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