2022 AMI Online Salon

Asymmetric Epigenetic Inheritance

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Timothy Phelps
  • Client: Xin Chen, Ph.D Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, Department of Biology Johns Hopkins University, Rajesh Ranjan, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Johns Hopkins University
  • Copyright: Tim Phelps, 2022
  • Medium/software used: Pen and ink and photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Journal Cover
  • Primary Audience: Basis science researchers, scientists in molecular, cellular, and biochemical biology

Project Description

To illustrate in summary and novel form the major components and processes involved in the division mode of asymmetric epigenetic inheritance. Asymmetric cell division (ACD) produces two daughter cells with distinct cell fates. This division mode is widely used during development and by adult stem cells during tissue homeostasis and regeneration, which can be regulated by both extrinsic cues such as signaling molecules and intrinsic factors such as epigenetic information. In this mandala representation the central flower represents the Drosophila testis niche. Each petal of the flower represents Germline stem cells (GSCs) with a large and a smaller purple circle representing a centromere; green rays representing stronger centromeres preferentially attach to the niche. Red and green caterpillars represent sister chromatids in prometaphase with separable old and new H3 in GSCs. Large butterflies represent prometaphase GSCs with a red wing vs a green wing representing non-overlapping old and new H3. Small orange butterflies represent prophase gonialblast cells with overlapping old and new H3 signals. The background pattern is coiled sperm from the fly testis.  An artistic representation of this concept is depicted in a nature inspired mandala for the cover of the journal Biochemical Society Transactions. “Mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle” and is thought to be a visual metaphor for stability, symmetry, and balance.