Macrophage and Bacterium 2,000,000X
Watercolor by David S. Goodsell, 2002
Macrophages circulate through the blood, searching for bacterial infection.
When bacteria are found, macrophages engulf and digest them. This series
of three paintings shows a macrophage engulfing a bacterium. Only a
portion of the two cells, where a pseudopod of the macrophage is extending
over the bacterium, is shown. The original paintings are 1 meter tall--at this
magnification, the macrophage would fill most of a building.
These paintings, which are on display in the Center for Integrative
Molecular Biosciences at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, include
all of the macromolecules in the two cells and in the surrounding blood
serum. The small organic molecules and water, which fill all the space
between the macromolecules, are omitted. In the paintings, the cell
membranes and their associated proteins are colored green, the cytoplasm is
colored blue and purple, and the nuclear material is colored red and orange.
The blood serum proteins are in yellow and brown.
Click the picture above for a high resolution version of the three paintings.