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© Rémy CHAR / Roxane FABRE / CIML / CNRS Images



The hidden face of the cell

Autophagy is a survival pathway specific to the cell: it enables the destruction of intracellular pathogens, as well as access to a nutrient reserve through the recycling of the cell membranes. If this process is not well-balanced, it can cause the cell to die. The image shows the RUFY3 protein, which is involved in the autophagy mechanism, in a mouse macrophage – an immune system cell responsible for the phagocytosis of foreign bodies. The presence of these molecules is shown in blue, according to their intensity, forming a skull-like pattern that reflects the internal struggle for survival taking place in each cell. This research aims to shed light on how this mechanism works, and makes it possible to observe how a cell can successfully withstand a hostile environment. This image was taken using direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM). It was awarded the People's Choice Award in the 2022 La preuve par l’image (LPPI) photography competition

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