BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Crypt Chaos

Fluorescently labelling gene mutations to visualise the growth of abnormal cell clones

29 July 2020

Crypt Chaos

Your gut churns and digests every day, which is why it needs to regenerate its lining every week. This is made possible by intestinal stem cells that live in crypts in the gut lining. However, if one of these cells develops a mutation that makes it more likely to become cancerous, it can divide to populate an entire region with pro-cancer cells, greatly increasing the risk of cancer. Researchers now use genetic engineering to fluorescently tag pro-cancer mutations in mouse intestinal stem cells to track their descendants. They found cells with mutations in a gene called Rspondin-3 rapidly expanded in adult gut linings, while those with mutations in another gene beta-catenin did not. In Rspondin-3 mutants, crypt cells divided more producing abnormally large intestines, as captured using fluorescent microscopy (pictured, right), when compared to beta-catenin mutants (left). This so-called 'Crainbow' model provides insights into the development of pro-cancer gut tissue.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.