Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 410 Views May 5, 2023

During infection, complement plays a critical role in inflammation, opsonisation, and destruction of microorganisms. This presents a challenge for pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus to overcome when invading the host. Our current knowledge on the mechanisms that evolved to counteract and disable this system is limited by the molecular tools available. Present techniques utilise labelled complement-specific antibodies to detect deposition upon the bacterial surface, a method not compatible with pathogens such as S. aureus, which are equipped with immunoglobulin-binding proteins, Protein A and Sbi. This protocol uses a novel antibody-independent probe, derived from the C3 binding domain of staphylococcal protein Sbi, in combination with flow cytometry, to quantify complement deposition. Sbi-IV is biotinylated, and deposition is quantified with fluorophore-labelled streptavidin. This novel method allows observation of wild-type cells without the need to disrupt key immune modulating proteins, presenting the opportunity to analyse the complement evasion mechanism used by clinical isolates. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for the expression and purification of Sbi-IV protein, quantification and biotinylation of the probe, and finally, optimisation of flow cytometry to detect complement deposition using normal human serum (NHS) and both Lactococcus lactis and S. aureus.

0 Q&A 553 Views Feb 5, 2023

In addition to cytosolic protein synthesis, mitochondria also utilize another translation system that is tailored for mRNAs encoded in the mitochondrial genome. The importance of mitochondrial protein synthesis has been exemplified by the diverse diseases associated with in organello translation deficiencies. Various methods have been developed to monitor mitochondrial translation, such as the classic method of labeling newly synthesized proteins with radioisotopes and the more recent ribosome profiling. However, since these methods always assess the average cell population, measuring the mitochondrial translation capacity in individual cells has been challenging. To overcome this issue, we recently developed mito-fluorescent noncanonical amino acid tagging (FUNCAT) fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), which labels nascent peptides generated by mitochondrial ribosomes with a methionine analog, L-homopropargylglycine (HPG), conjugates the peptides with fluorophores by an in situ click reaction, and detects the signal in individual cells by FACS equipment. With this methodology, the hidden heterogeneity of mitochondrial translation in cell populations can be addressed.

0 Q&A 5319 Views Feb 20, 2020
Accurate abundance measurements of cellular proteins are required to achieve a quantitative and predictive understanding of any biological process inside the cell. Existing methods to determine absolute protein abundances are labor-intensive and/or require sophisticated experimental and computational infrastructure (e.g., fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS)-calibrated imaging and quantitative mass spectrometry). Here we detail a straightforward flow cytometry-based method to measure the absolute abundance of any Halo-tagged protein in live cells that uses a standard mammalian cell line with a known number of Halo-CTCF proteins recently characterized in our lab. The protocol only comprises a few steps. First, a cell line expressing the Halo-tagged protein of interest is grown and labeled side-by-side with our standard line. Then, average fluorescence intensities are measured by conventional flow cytometry analysis and finally a simple calculation is applied to estimate the absolute number of the Halo-tagged protein of interest per cell. Once the protein of interest has been endogenously tagged with HaloTag, which we routinely achieve by Cas9-mediated genome editing, the presented protocol is fast, convenient, reproducible, cost-effective and readily accessible.
0 Q&A 3774 Views Nov 5, 2019
The ability to non-invasively detect specific damage to the kidney has been limited. Identification of extracellular vesicles released by cells, especially when under duress, might allow for monitoring and identification of specific cell types within the kidney that are stressed. We have adapted a previously published traditional flow cytometry method for use with an imaging flow cytometer (Amnis FlowSight) for identifying EV released by specific cell types and excreted into the urine or blood using markers characteristic of particular cells in the kidney. Here we present a protocol utilizing the Amnis FlowSight Imaging Flow Cytometer to identify and quantify EV from the urine of patients with essential hypertension and renovascular disease. Notably, EV isolated from cell culture media and plasma can also be analyzed similarly.

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