Green and red fluorescent proteins illuminate the mechanics of cell division

8. June 2011 - 0:00

These movies show what happens inside fission yeast cells as they divide. Before the cell divides, the chromosomes are duplicated, and then the microtubules -- the green lines in the video - move the duplicated sets of chromosomes apart, toward the ends of the cell as it elongates. When the cell finally splits into two, each "daughter" cell is left with the same set of chromosomes.

The red structures in the video are mitochondria, which are often described as the "powerhouses" of the cell. The mechanisms by which mitochondrial distribution to daughter cells is guaranteed are not yet fully understood.

The green and red in this video is not computer-generated, and it is not an illustration. Green and red fluorescent proteins were used to make very specific parts of the cells visible under certain light, so these movies show what you would see if you were looking in a microscope at these organisms. By seeing specific parts of a cell in action during biological processes, we can learn a great deal about what occurs inside the cell to realize the processes of biological life.

Movie by Dr. Kojiro Takeda (武田 鋼二郎), G0 Unit (Dr. Mitsuhiro Yanagida, Principal Investigator), Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST).

To learn more about the OIST GO Unit, visit

Free for anyone to re-use, but must be credited to OIST.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.