Courtesy of cell biologist Mary Anne Alliegro, Marine Biological Laboratory.

The nucleolinus is a cellular compartment that has been a lonely bystander in scientific endeavors. Although it's found in a range of species, its function has been mysterious-mainly because the structure is hard to visualize. Now, a study shows that the nucleolinus is crucial in cell division. When researchers zapped the structure with a laser, an egg cell didn't complete division. When the oocyte was fertilized after laser microsurgery (bottom right), the resulting zygote didn't form vital cell division structures (blue and yellow). Perhaps now the nucleolinus has earned its rightful place inside the cell and in scientific research. Courtesy of cell biologist Mary Anne Alliegro, Marine Biological Laboratory.

Featured in the August 18, 2010, issue of Biomedical Beat.