Video: White Blood Cell Hunting, Slaying Bacterium


(Video Link)


This video shows a neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) chasing a staphylococcus aureus bacterium. The video was recorded by biochemistry professor David Rogers of Vanderbilt University in the 1950s. Notes on the movement by med school professor Thomas P. Stossel:

Contraction waves are visible along the surface of the moving cell as it moves forward in a gliding fashion. As the neutrophil relentlessly pursues the microbe it ignores the red cells and platelets. However, its leading edge is sufficiently stiff (elastic) to deform and displace the red cells it bumps into. The internal contents of the neutrophil also move, and granule motion is particularly dynamic near the leading edge. These granules only approach the cell surface membrane when the cell changes direction and redistributes its peripheral "gel." After the neutrophil has engulfed the bacterium, note that the cell's movements become somewhat more jerky, and that it begins to extend more spherical surface projections.


Link via Geekologie

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It IS interesting that it focuses on that one bacillus... but why is it chasing it at all? Is it hungry? Does the white cell require invasive bacteria in order to survive? How like (or unlike) any ecosphere that we are familiar with on the macro (our) level is this stuff? (I'm jealous of med students... but at 63, I'm not likely to pursue that course... still I wanna know).
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What I found interesting was how it kept chasing after that one and ignored the other one that was just as close.

I'm sure there is a logical explanation, but I'm just gonna go with Magic White Blood Cells.
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