These green ovals (in the image below) are fission yeast, organisms that scientists Vladimir Sirotkin, PhD, and Robert Carroll, a PhD candidate, in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology use for their study of endocytosis, the process by which a cell brings material into itself. They focus on the roles of the actin cytoskeleton and the motor protein myosin-1 in endocytosis. The red in these images represents the dynamic sites of endocytosis, where actin and myosin-1 help internalize material into the yeast cells. The green shows stable linear structures on the surface of the cells. Understanding the function of myosin-1 is important to understanding a particular kidney disease that is caused by a mutation in the myosin. Actin and myosin-1 are also implicated in cancer, and the Upstate scientists believe the proteins may prove to be good targets for medications.
This article appears in the spring 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.