Physiology Course Students Create Spectacular Stentor Images

Physiology Course Students Create Spectacular Stentor Images
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By Jennifer Tsang

The MBL Physiology course took a sampling trip to Morse Pond in Falmouth, Mass., and brought back a remarkable organism called Stentor to the lab. One of the largest unicellular organisms known, Stentor can regenerate as multiple whole organisms when broken into small pieces.

Two students in the course, Miranda Hunter of University of Toronto and Victoria Yan of TU Dresden, shared stunning Stentor images on Twitter over the last couple weeks. They captured their images in the course with the Andor Dragonfly confocal microscope.

Hunter wanted to see where different molecules localize within the Stentor cell to get an idea of their role in regeneration. She labeled microtubules (structural proteins that give the cell its shape) in green and nuclei in blue. Her image shows how Stentor’s multiple nuclei join together in a chain:

Yan is investigating microtubule organization in Stentor pyriformis, a species that has an endosymbiotic relationship with algae. In her image, microtubules are stained in green, DNA in blue, and algae in magenta. “It was one of the most beautiful samples I have ever seen,” Yan said.