Subaqueous Constellations of Aggregative Inclusion Bodies

Year: 
2018
Ranking: 
Entrant
Artist: 
Koe Inlow (Undergraduate Student)
Department: 
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Lab: 
Materials Research Lab (Waite Lab)

Description

Mussels have perfected the mechanism of underwater adhesion to cling tightly to wet surfaces despite the harsh ebb and flow of crashing waves. This phenomenon occurs from within the mussel foot, where it works to secrete vesicles filled with granular nanoparticles that make up the byssal thread.

This image was taken with a Leica SP8 Confocal Microscope in the fluorescent 405nm laser line. These granular nanoparticles have a naturally-occurring autofluorescence at this wavelength. I surmise that these granules appear "stringy" and "sticky" as a result of denaturation with 6M Guanidium HCl, allowing for their spontaneous polymeric aggregation to increase overall entropy, stabilization through noncovalent bonding, and charge neutralization.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB