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Amazing Image Reveals Micro Slip 'N Slides

Fungus Emericella Nidulans and Hydrophobin-Covered Spores
The spherical spores produced by the fungus Emericella nidulans are coated in a thin layer of the protein hydrophobin. (Image credit: American Society for Microbiology)

This 400x-magnified image is a very colorful close-up look at a microbiological water park of sorts created by the fungus Emericella nidulans. Fungi with filaments, like this one, produce a thin layer of protein called hydrophobin on their spherical spores. This protein sheet ensures water rolls off the spores, creating tiny slip 'n slides.

Hydrophobin is a cysteine-rich protein, an amino acid that can be formed in humans. Emericella nidulans has been used in research for more than 50 years, including in studies of recombination, DNA repair, mutation and cell cycle control.

Other types of fungi, like mushrooms, also have a layer of hydrophobin. While this image may look colorful, the fungi normally appears green to the naked eye.

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Nina Sen
Nina Sen is a frequent contributor to Live Science’s Life’s Little Mysteries series: an exploration and explanation of our world’s phenomena, both natural and man-made. She also writes astronomy photo stories for Live Science's sister site Space.com.