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The Art in Science

Product Image Slipping Between the Cracks

Slipping Between the Cracks

Alexandre Ermilov, Research Lab Specialist (Dlugosz laboratory), Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan Medical School

This is a microscopic image of a mouse stomach that was stained using fluorescent markers. The purpose of the experiment was to determine which cells of the stomach are activated by Hedgehog, a secreted signaling protein that cells use to signal to one another. Hedgehog signaling is important in many contexts. It is involved in embryonic development, adult organ function, and cancer formation.  Identifying cells where this pathway is active is one of the first steps in determining how it functions in different organs and learning how alterations in the Hedgehog pathway can contribute to disease. Here, green marks the expression of keratin, which stains epithelial cells that are connected to each other and organized in the stomach as tube-shaped glands.   The red stain detects elongated cells that are located between the groups of epithelial glands.  These cells are stained red because they are expressing Gli1, a protein that is turned on by Hedgehog.