University of Massachusetts Amherst

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In Pictures

Muscles and Metamorphosis: The Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Death

Hawk moths like the one in the palm of biologist Lawrence Schwartz above exhibit an extraordinary set of muscles and a radical maturation process. Schwartz’s research is revealing that on a cellular level the process bears a striking resemblance to what happens in sarcopenia - the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength associated with aging. The insect experiences 40 percent loss of its muscle mass during the three days before its emergence as an adult moth. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control muscle atrophy and cell death holds great promise for treating human disease. Supporters of the project include the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. Learn more.

Photo credit: Amanda Drane