Monsters of Med School: enucleation of red blood cells

By: Vicky Koski-Karell

Ask a Scientist is on vacation this week, but will return next week! In the meantime, here's one of Vicky's monsters of med school: enucleation of red blood cells. 

DNA encodes all of the information necessary for life, and each cell in our body stores its DNA in its nucleus, a specialized compartment within the cell that protects the DNA from damage. Every cell in our body contains a nucleus, except for red blood cells. Interestingly, red blood cells develop with a nucleus in the bone marrow (where all blood cells develop), and then lose their nucleus as they mature and enter the bloodstream. This process is called red blood cell (or erythrocyte) enucleation.


Monsters of med school: monocyte

Monocytes are an integral part of the innate immune system. In tissues, they can differentiate into macrophages, the gluttons of the immune system. While macrophages perform a variety of functions, one of their most important roles is to eat up, or phagocytose, material around them. They eat dead cells, debris, and, importantly, infectious organisms, a process that is critical for host defense. Macrophages are also the primary infectious target of   M. tuberculosis.

Monocytes are an integral part of the innate immune system. In tissues, they can differentiate into macrophages, the gluttons of the immune system. While macrophages perform a variety of functions, one of their most important roles is to eat up, or phagocytose, material around them. They eat dead cells, debris, and, importantly, infectious organisms, a process that is critical for host defense. Macrophages are also the primary infectious target of M. tuberculosis.