Amoeba Fail!

Amoeba Fail! This poor Dictyostelium (colored green) is trying very hard to engulf a mutant yeast cell that is just too large 馃檪

The orange label is on actin filaments : cytoskeletal elements that organize around the edges, ready to close off the phagosome. Myosin motors pull the actin together, like the drawstring of a purse.

Notice the force with which the amoeba ejects the yeast cell when it gives up. Then it tries again , from a different angle. Watch the excess surface membrane being thrown into ruffles before it is quickly absorbed into the cell. Not surprisingly, this video was titled Frustration!


Credits: My awesome Google+ team of Kevin Staff who made the animated gif and Konstantin Makov , as usual. Thank you for making science fun!

#ScienceSunday, Allison Sekuler , Robby Bowles .

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44 Responses to Amoeba Fail!

  1. Fascinating! But does the amoeba ever get absorbed by the yeast?

  2. Rajini Rao With pleasure.As usual… ( :

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    Determined, indeed 馃檪 No, the yeast is a simple budding yeast that would not stand a chance against the does not have the mechanism to phagocytose such a large cell. The reason this one got away is that is carries a mutation that makes its bud too large 馃檪

  4. Just you wait, yeast is evolving at a phenomenal rate 馃槈

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Terry Hallett , I’m rooting for the yeast, thinking more bread and beer 馃檪

  6. Sounds good to meRajini Rao 馃檪

  7. C C says:

    Unfortunately, without a memory to speak of, I don’t think the amoeba has much of a choice but to be determined – that is, until the yeast goes away, it finds another target, runs out of energy, or dies. Its biochemistry simply won’t have it any other way. :]

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    Perhaps some 2 legged creatures are like that too, Chris Cannova ? 馃槈

  9. C C says:

    Rajini Rao You do have to wonder. ;]

  10. Julie Sortor says:

    Rajini Rao Perchance a new term has been coined?

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    Which one, Julie Sortor ? #amoebafail ?

  12. Krishna Rao says:

    Thanks rajini for sharing..I always look forward for your postings..DNA info was incredible n so is this one..

  13. Ernest W says:

    Is this going to turn out like the snake that ate the crocodile/goat? that was too big and the snake ripped open?

    I feel like the amoeba when I go to buffet restaurants.

  14. Looks like the rail slipped off the tracks! Cool animation.

  15. Dayrk Flaugh says:

    This reminds me of how my 3 year old son eats.

  16. Yasmeen A says:

    wow. it’s so amazing how cells work! we’re kind of in this whole unit on cells in science right now, and i think my science teacher would be pretty happy to see this! (oh yeah, and the class too :)) thanks for sharing! your posts never fail to make me learn new things! 馃檪

  17. Julie Sortor says:

    Dayrk Flaugh my 22 year old still eats that way!

  18. Julie Sortor says:

    Rajini Rao amoeba! I can just it – girl’s night out – “look out here comes another amoeba!”

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    Julie Sortor , haha, and they’re just going to blame it on their biochemistry, too 馃槈

  20. this is so interesting! thank you for sharing 馃檪

  21. Yasmeen A says:

    you kind of have to feel bad for the poor yeast cell though. i mean, it’s struggling out of its enemy’s grasp as it’s being devoured. no doubt it’s as frustrated as the amoeba. 馃槈 haha

  22. Every time I read a post form Rajini Rao, I kick myself for not becoming a scientist! Thanks for bringing the excitement of science to my stream, Rajini.

  23. Rajini Rao says:

    Thank you, Jeff Jockisch . Another one on why zebras have stripes coming right up to tickle your funny bone. 馃檪

  24. Ernest W says:

    Stripes are slimming.

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    No peeking, Ernest W ! ‘Fess up, did you see the post before this comment? 馃檪

  26. Ernest W says:


    I always tell people stripes are slimming.

    Even tho that’s not really true.

    A dark shade of blue/black hides mass more effectively, in my opinion.

  27. Rajini Rao says:

    Ernest W , you may not want to tell them that stripes keep away the horseflies. Slimming sounds better 馃檪

    I’ve got to agree with you on black: forever elegant and forgiving!

  28. Ernest W says:

    I was bitten by damned horseflies once and I HATE them.

  29. I feel for the amoeba. I felt the same way when confronted with the ‘Monster Burrito’ (on the menu they did give adequate warnings which I sadly did not heed) at this Mexican restaurant here.

  30. Well, I hate to have to say it, but it has to be said: “Size does matter”.

  31. Rajini Rao says:

    LOL! stefan jeffers Someone had to say it:) My commentators have been incredibly restrained so far. My posts must have a PG-13 rating on them.

  32. Great, the microbian version of a nature documentary.

    As for zebra stripes, what are they for? to camouflage their eyes or their heads so predators can’t find out whether the zebras can spot them as they approach? To hide their number? to make each individual harder to tell them apart from the herd? to hide their colts among the group?

  33. Rajini Rao says:

    According to the newest research, Zephyr L贸pez Cervilla , to confuse bloodsucking horseflies. See my post:

  34. re ‘microbian version of a nature documentary’ Zephyr L贸pez Cervilla — I was thinking the same. Where is Marlin Perkins when we need him? Maybe we will have to settle for the Swamp Brothers…

    [I imagine only 3 of you out there actually understood both of those references:)]

  35. So to confuse their (micro-)predators.

  36. Yohan Wadia says:

    Is this a “Dictyostelium discoideum” ?? i have read about thes microbes, and how they are used to study the different stages of life…

    these Dictyostelium have a very short lifespan.. so you can actually observer their vegetative growth.. amazing creatures.. 馃檪

  37. Interesting! So, everything is struggling to survive 馃檪

  38. Norman M. says:

    This is better than the best reality show.

  39. Rahul Joshi says:

    Sublime! Rajini Rao you must really love your job!

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