August 23, 2012

Art imitates life, but sometimes it is life that imitates art. And when I say “art,” I’m talking about my dance moves (don’t think it’s “art”?….get your own blog!). So, imagine my happiness at seeing that neutrophils have their own interpretation of my lasso dance move to help them roll within a vessel. Today’s image is from a fascinating paper describing this neutrophil sling.

Neutrophils are white blood cells that are some of the first responders to inflammation. Their migration toward inflamed tissue is made difficult due to the high shear stress of blood flowing through the vessel. Past research showed that neutrophils roll over the vessel’s surface by flattening and using long membrane tethers at the rear of the cell. A recent paper shows that these rear tethers are, in fact, the remnants of a sling that the neutrophil uses to roll within the vessel. Sundd and colleagues show that as a neutrophil rolls forward, a sling wraps itself around the cell and lays in front of the cell. The sling is then used as an adhesive substrate on which the cell can roll easily within the microvessel environment. As the cell rolls forward, the sling is peeled up and the process is repeated. The images above show two different neutrophils using a sling for forward rolling. The back tether of the sling (arrowhead, top images) is swung to the front of the cell (long white arrows, second images down), after which the cell moves forward.

ResearchBlogging.orgPrithu Sundd,, Edgar Gutierrez,, Ekaterina K. Koltsova, Yoshihiro Kuwano, Satoru Fukuda, Maria K. Pospieszalska, Alex Groisman, & Klaus Ley (2012). ‘Slings’ enable neutrophil rolling at high shear Nature, 488 (7411), 399-403 : doi:10.1038/nature11248
Adapted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd, copyright ©2012

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