This image of fluorescently labeled myosin motors contained within bundles of actin filaments. The ends of these bundles are bound to polystyrene beads with a diameter of 3 microns. This image was taken from a timelapse series during the contraction of these reconstituted actomyosin bundles. If you look closely, you’ll see that the bundles all look very straight—this straightness only arises during contraction.
The original image of fluorescent myosin was obtained from a monochromatic camera and I inverted the contrast and imposed a light to dark blue colormap. I did all these adjustments in Metamorph.
From a series of timelapse images of contraction, we are able to quantify many important behaviors of reconstituted actomyosin bundles. Nearly all of the conclusions we present in our manuscript are based from quantitative analysis of the images like the one shown on the cover.
I enjoy the creative process but would not consider myself an artist. I have always enjoyed photography and images. Now that my lab does quite a bit of microscopy, it is fun to create artwork from these images. We always submit cover art with our manuscripts. It is great advertising for our work and makes for good office decorations. We are thrilled to be selected for the cover of Biophysical Journal! My lab does a lot of work with live cells, so our next submission will likely be that of the cellular cytoskeleton.
Please visit my lab’s website at http://squishycell.uchicago.edu/!
Margaret Gardel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, James Franck Institute & Institute for Biophysical Dynamics at the University of Chicago. Her art appears on the June 2011 cover of Biophysical Journal, released today.