If you read this blog, then you were probably the type of kid who used your toy microscope to look at the wound on your knee caused by your brother pushing you onto the ground (for example). You could see the skin around the scab stretching, and you knew there was some cool stuff going on there. I’m not sure if the authors from today’s image did this, but in a very sophisticated way they do now.
Our cells and tissues are equipped with the ability to repair wounds caused by normal wear-and-tear and injury. When the plasma membrane of a single cell is torn, the membrane and underlying cytoskeleton must be repaired. A recent paper describes the use of early fruit fly embryos to understand what occurs during single-cell wound repair. The early fly embryo is a fantastic model for understanding this event because of its ease of genetic manipulation and the large size of what is technically one cell. Abreu-Blanco and colleagues found that there are three phases in single-cell wound repair—brief expansion of the wound, contraction of the membrane, and closure of the wound. Images above show the accumulation of actin around a healing wound. Left column shows the surface of wound, while the right column shows a cross section.
BONUS!! Check out a movie of the image above here. Still want more movies from this paper? Click here.
Abreu-Blanco, M., Verboon, J., & Parkhurst, S. (2011). Cell wound repair in Drosophila occurs through three distinct phases of membrane and cytoskeletal remodeling originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, 193 (3), 455-464 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201011018