Cell Biology

Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 427 Views Feb 5, 2023

Single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) provides a powerful tool for studying cell type composition in heterogenous tissues. The liver is a vital organ composed of a diverse set of cell types; thus, single-cell technologies could greatly facilitate the deconvolution of liver tissue composition and various downstream omics analyses at the cell-type level. Applying single-cell technologies to fresh liver biopsies can, however, be very challenging, and snRNA-seq of snap-frozen liver biopsies requires some optimization given the high nucleic acid content of the solid liver tissue. Therefore, an optimized protocol for snRNA-seq specifically targeted for the use of frozen liver samples is needed to improve our understanding of human liver gene expression at the cell-type resolution. We present a protocol for performing nuclei isolation from snap-frozen liver tissues, as well as guidance on the application of snRNA-seq. We also provide guidance on optimizing the protocol to different tissue and sample types.

0 Q&A 1447 Views Jul 20, 2022

Cilia and flagella are microtubule-based hair-like organelles protruding from the surface of most eukaryotic cells, and play essential roles in cell locomotion, left-right asymmetry, embryo development, and tissue homeostasis. With isolated cilia and flagella, great progress has been made in understanding the composition, structure, and function of cilia. However, the current cilia/flagella isolation methods are deficient in the integrity or productivity of purified cilia when applied to mammalian motile cilia. Here, we describe a new protocol that isolates cilia shafts from mouse ependymal cells, by horizontal shear force and mild detergent. This method enables the production of virtually integral cilia with high yields and less cell body contamination. It is suitable for immunostaining, puromycin labeling assay, and proximity ligation assay of mammalian motile cilia.

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0 Q&A 1697 Views Jul 5, 2022

Lysosome isolation is a preresiquite for identifying lysosomal protein composition by mass spectroscopic analysis, to reveal lysosome functions, and their involvement in some diseases. Magnetic nanoparticle-based fractionation has received great attention for lysosome isolation, owing to its high efficiency, purity, and preservation of lysosomal structures. Understanding the intracellular trafficking of magnetic probes is the key point of this technique, to determine the appropriate time for magnetic isolation of lysosomes, because this parameter changes depending on different cell lines used. The traditional magnetic probes, such as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), require surface modification by fluorescent dyes to enable the investigation of their intracellular trafficking, which has some disadvantages, including the possible alternation of their bio-interaction, and the instability of fluorescence properties in the lysosomal environment. To overcome those limitations, we present a protocol that employs magnetic-plasmonic nanoparticles (MPNPs) to investigate intracellular trafficking using their intrinsic imaging capability, followed by quick lysosome isolation using a magnetic column. This protocol can be easily applied to isolate the intact lysosomes of any adherent cell lines.

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0 Q&A 2769 Views Jun 20, 2022

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes, are produced by all known eukaryotic cells, and constitute essential means of intercellular communication. Recent studies have unraveled the important roles of EVs in migrating to specific sites and cells. Functional studies of EVs using in vivo and in vitro systems require tracking these organelles using fluorescent dyes or, alternatively, transfected and fluorescent-tagged proteins, located either intravesicularly or anchored to the EV bilayer membrane. Due to design simplicity, the fluorescent dye might be a preferred method if the cells are difficult to modify by transfection or when the genetic alteration of the mother cells is not desired. This protocol describes techniques to label cultured cell-derived EVs, using lipophilic DiR [DiIC18(7) (1,1'-Dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-Tetramethylindotricarbocyanine Iodide)] fluorophore. This technique can be used to study the cellular uptake and intracellular localization of EVs, and their biodistribution in vivo, which are crucial evaluations of any isolated EVs.

0 Q&A 1433 Views May 5, 2022

Endosomal recycling is essential for the appropriate function of the endosome. During this process, endosomal coat complexes (i.e., retromer, and Mvp1) are recruited to the endosome, and deform its membrane to form recycling vesicles. To further analyze this, we developed a protocol for the immunoisolation of recycling vesicles from budding yeast. This method is a powerful way to characterize endosomal recycling pathways.

0 Q&A 2694 Views Jan 20, 2022

The plant nucleus is an important subcellular organelle that contains the genome, ribosomal RNA, and regulatory proteins, and performs a central role in the functioning and metabolism of the cell. Fractionation of intact nuclei is a crucial process to elucidate the function of nuclear proteins. Here, we present a simple method for the fractionation of crude nuclei and extraction of nuclear proteins, based on previously established methods. This protocol provides an easy and quick method to isolate crude nuclei and extract nuclear proteins from Arabidopsis seedlings, which is useful for the research on the nuclear proteins, without requirement for high-purity nuclei.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic procedure for the isolation of crude nuclei and extraction of nuclear proteins from Arabidopsis seedlings.

0 Q&A 2459 Views Sep 5, 2021

Throughout their life cycle, bacteria shed portions of their outermost membrane comprised of proteins, lipids, and a diversity of other biomolecules. These biological nanoparticles have been shown to have a range of highly diverse biological activities, including pathogenesis, community regulation, and cellular defense (among others). In recent publications, we have isolated and characterized membrane vesicles (MVs) from several species of Lactobacilli, microbes classified as commensals within the human gut microbiome (Dean et al., 2019 and 2020). With increasing scientific understanding of host-microbe interactions, the gut-brain axis, and tailored probiotics for therapeutic or performance increasing applications, the protocols described herein will be useful to researchers developing new strategies for gut community engineering or the targeted delivery of bio-active molecules.

Graphic abstract:

Figure 1. Atomic force microscopic image of Lactobacillus casei ATCC 393 bacteria margins (white arrows) and membrane vesicles (black arrows)

0 Q&A 3543 Views Jun 20, 2021

Mitochondria are essential organelles containing approximately 1,500 proteins. Only approximately 1% of these proteins are synthesized inside mitochondria, whereas the remaining 99% are synthesized as precursors on cytosolic ribosomes and imported into the organelle. Various tools and techniques to analyze the import process have been developed. Among them, in vitro reconstituted import systems are of importance to study these processes in detail. These experiments monitor the import reaction of mitochondrial precursors that were previously radiolabeled in a cell-free environment. However, the methods described have been mostly performed in mitochondria isolated from S. cerevisiae. Here, we describe the adaptation of this powerful assay to import proteins into crude mitochondria isolated from human tissue culture cells.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of the assay to monitor protein import into mitochondria isolated from human cells

1 Q&A 3242 Views Jan 20, 2021

The synapse is a complex structure where the transmission of information takes place. Synaptic dysfunction is one of the earliest pathophysiological events in several diseases, such as traumatic brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, a methodology to study synaptic structure and function is crucial for the development of potential strategies for the treatment of many neurological diseases. Synaptoneurosomes (SNs) are structures assembled by the sealed presynaptic bouton and the attached post-synaptic density. Despite the fact that for a long time it has been recognized that SNs are a powerful tool to study synaptic function, composition, and structure, its use has been limited by the requirement of relatively large amounts of material to successfully isolate them. Here we describe a three-step centrifugation procedure performed under hypotonic conditions to isolate SNs from small volumes of the cerebral cortex.

Graphic abstract

Schematic flowchart for the preparation of synaptoneurosomes.

0 Q&A 2700 Views Dec 20, 2020

Lipid droplets (LDs) are neutral lipid aggregates surrounded by a phospholipid monolayer and specific proteins. In plants, they play a key role as energy source after seed germination, but are also formed in vegetative tissues in response to developmental or environmental conditions, where their functions are poorly understood. To elucidate these, it is essential to isolate LDs with good yields, while retaining their protein components. LD isolation protocols are based on their capacity to float after centrifugation in sucrose gradients. Early strategies using stringent conditions and LD-abundant plant tissues produced pure LDs where core proteins were identified. To identify more weakly bound LD proteins, recent protocols have used low stringency buffers, but carryover contaminants and low yields were often a problem. We have developed a sucrose gradient-based protocol to isolate LDs from Arabidopsis leaves, using Tween-20 and fresh tissue to increase yield. In both healthy and bacterially-infected Arabidopsis leaves, this protocol allowed to identify LD proteins that were later confirmed by microscopy analysis.

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