Cell Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 2652 Views Apr 20, 2021
The CCF4-AM Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay is a sensitive approach to measure bacterial cytosolic translocation in live cells. The FRET pair hydroxycoumarin (donor) and fluorescein (acceptor) are linked by a CCF4-AM β-lactam ring, the substrate of β-lactamase. The exogenously added, neutral charged-FRET reagent can diffuse across the membrane and stay in the cytosol only once it is charged in the cytosol. When bacteria translocate from subcellular organelles (e.g., phagosomes) to the cytosol, the bacteria-associated β-lactamase cleaves the β-lactam ring, resulting in loss of FRET signal. Here we describe the fluorometer-based approach optimized for direct measurement of cytosolic translocation as a result of the EsxAB complex of Mycobacterium marinum in RAW264.7 cells.
0 Q&A 3055 Views Nov 20, 2020
Granulomas are organized multicellular structures that constitute the hallmark of an infection by the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). A better understanding of the complex host-Mtb interactions within the granuloma’s environment may lead to new therapeutic or preventive tools to improve the control of the tuberculosis pandemic. To date, several in vitro models that are able to mimic human nascent granulomas have been reported. Here we describe a protocol in which Mtb-infected human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are embedded within a collagen matrix leading to the formation of three-dimensional micro-granulomas. Subsequently, PBMCs and Mtb can be retrieved allowing multiparametric readouts from both the host and the pathogen. In addition to the incorporation of a physiological extracellular matrix, this model has the singular advantage of recapitulating dormant-like Mtb features, as well as reproducing Mtb resuscitation observed under immunomodulatory treatments, which have not been reported in other published protocols to generate in vitro granulomas.
0 Q&A 3910 Views Mar 5, 2020
The study of host-pathogen interactions has improved our understanding of both pathogenesis and the response of the host to infection, including both innate and adaptive responses. Neutrophils and macrophages represent the first line of innate host defense against any infection. The zebrafish is an ideal model to study the response of these cells to a variety of pathogens. Zebrafish possess both neutrophils and macrophages exhibiting similar defense mechanisms to their human counterparts. The transparency of zebrafish embryos greatly facilitates in vivo tracking of infection dynamics in a non-invasive manner at high-resolution using labelled pathogens, while immune cells can also be labelled transgenically to enable even more in-depth analysis. Here we describe a procedure for performing a bacterial infection assay in zebrafish embryos using fluorescently-labelled E. coli bacteria and demonstrate the monitoring and quantification of the infection kinetics. Of note, this procedure helps in understanding the functional role of genes that are important in driving the innate immune response.
0 Q&A 7838 Views Jul 5, 2019
Shigella flexneri is an intracellular bacterial pathogen that gains access to the gut epithelium using a specialized Type III Secretion System (T3SS). Various determinants mediating this invasive infection have been experimentally verified using the classical gentamicin protection assay presented here. In this assay epithelial cell lines are infected by bacteria in vitro and the extracellular bacteria are killed by gentamicin. The internalized bacteria, which are protected from the bactericidal action of gentamicin, are recovered by lysing the epithelial cells and enumerated by determining the colonies formed on solid medium. Various techniques based on light microscopy, such as immunofluorescence and bacteria expressing fluorescent proteins, are also used for studying intracellular bacteria. However, these techniques are not only labor intensive and require sophisticated equipment, but mostly are also not quantitative. Despite being an easy quantitative method to study invasiveness of bacteria, the gentamicin protection assay cannot distinguish between the survival and multiplication of the internalized bacteria over longer incubation periods. To alleviate the complications created by multiplication and dissemination of internalized bacteria, complementary assays like plaque formation assays are required. This protocol presents an easy and cost-effective method to determine the invasiveness and the capacity to establish an infection of Shigella under different conditions.

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