Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 11th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

03 September 2013


We might think we’re very different from insects, but we can learn a surprising amount about ourselves from the humble fruit fly. Recently, experiments on flies have led to new insights into heart defects caused by abnormal development of the extracellular matrix (ECM), a network of collagens and proteins surrounding cells and anchoring tissues to each other. In the micrograph above, the cells of the fly heart (top, in red) are detached from the muscle fibres that should hold it in place (bottom, also red), leading to heart failure and death, as in the human diseases. This is caused by mutation in a protein that helps link the heart and muscles by recruiting collagen, normally covering the cells shown in green. Aptly named lonely heart, this protein belongs to the same family as those responsible for human conditions involving the ECM, suggesting that their function has barely changed during evolution.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.