Cancer Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 3333 Views Jan 20, 2022

ATAC-seq (assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high-throughput sequencing) is a powerful method to evaluate chromatin accessibility and nucleosome positioning at a genome-wide scale. This assay uses a hyperactive Tn5 transposase, to simultaneously cut open chromatin and insert adapter sequences. After sequencing, the reads generated through this technique are generally indicative of transcriptional regulatory elements that are located in accessible chromatin. This method was originally developed by Buenrostro et al. (2013), and since then it has been improved by the same authors several times, until their last update called OMNI ATAC-seq (Corces et al., 2017). Here, we describe an ATAC-seq protocol based on the OMNI-ATAC method, with a special focus on the initial steps of thawing cryopreserved cells, and the final steps of library purification using magnetic beads. This protocol can be of interest for laboratories working in a fast-paced environment.

Graphic abstract:

Flowchart of the protocol

0 Q&A 3154 Views Oct 5, 2021

Once thought to be a mere consequence of the state of a cell, intermediary metabolism is now recognized as a key regulator of mammalian cell fate and function. In addition, cell metabolism is often disturbed in malignancies such as cancer, and targeting metabolic pathways can provide new therapeutic options. Cell metabolism is mostly studied in cell cultures in vitro, using techniques such as metabolomics, stable isotope tracing, and biochemical assays. Increasing evidence however shows that the metabolic profile of cells is highly dependent on the microenvironment, and metabolic vulnerabilities identified in vitro do not always translate to in vivo settings. Here, we provide a detailed protocol on how to perform in vivo stable isotope tracing in leukemia cells in mice, focusing on glutamine metabolism in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. This method allows studying the metabolic profile of leukemia cells in their native bone marrow niche.

1 Q&A 4810 Views Mar 20, 2021

The activation of the Takeda G-protein receptor 5 (TGR5, also known as the G protein-coupled bile acid receptor 1, GPBAR1) in enteroendocrine L-cells results in secretion of the anti-diabetic hormone Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) into systemic circulation. Consequently, recent research has focused on identification and development of TGR5 agonists as type 2 diabetes therapeutics. However, the clinical application of TGR5 agonists has been hampered by side effects of these compounds that primarily result from their absorption into circulation. Here we describe an in vitro screening protocol to evaluate the TGR5 agonism, GLP-1 secretion, and gut-restricted properties of small molecules. The protocol involves differentiating gut epithelial and endocrine cells together in transwells to assess both the pharmacodynamics of TGR5 agonists and the toxicity of compounds to the intestinal monolayer. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate the use of the protocol in evaluating properties of naturally occurring bile acid metabolites that are potent TGR5 agonists. This protocol is adapted from Chaudhari et al. (2021).

0 Q&A 3752 Views Feb 20, 2021

Exosomes and other extracellular vesicles (EVs) are considered the main vehicles transporting RNAs in extracellular samples, including human bodily fluids. However, a major proportion of extracellular RNAs (exRNAs) do not copurify with EVs and remain in ultracentrifugation supernatants of cell-conditioned medium or blood serum. We have observed that nonvesicular exRNA profiles are highly biased toward those RNAs with intrinsic resistance to extracellular ribonucleases. These highly resistant exRNAs are interesting from a biomarker point of view, but are not representative of the actual bulk of RNAs released to the extracellular space. In order to understand exRNA dynamics and capture both stable and unstable RNAs, we developed a method based on size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) fractionation of RNase inhibitor (RI)-treated cell-conditioned medium (RI-SEC-seq). This method has allowed us to identify and study extracellular ribosomes and tRNAs, and offers a dynamical view of the extracellular RNAome which can impact biomarker discovery in the near future.

Graphical abstract:

Overview of the RI-SEC-seq protocol: sequencing of size-exclusion chromatography fractions from nonvesicular extracellular samples treated or not with RNase inhibitors (+/- RI)

0 Q&A 2854 Views Oct 20, 2020
Salivary metabolomics have provided the potentials to detect both oral and systemic diseases. Capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (CE-TOFMS) enables the identification and quantification of various charged metabolites. This method has been employed to biomarker discoveries using human saliva samples, especially for various types of cancers. The untargeted analysis contributes to finding new biomarkers. i.e., the analysis of all detectable signals including both known and unknown metabolites extends the coverage of metabolite to be observed. However, the observed data includes thousands of peaks. Besides, non-linear migration time fluctuation and skewed peaks are caused by the sample condition. The presented pretreatment protocols of saliva samples enhance the reproducibility of migration time drift, which facilitates the matching peaks across the samples and also results in reproducible absolute concentrations of the detected metabolites. The described protocols are utilized not only for saliva but for any liquid samples with slight modifications.
0 Q&A 5006 Views Dec 20, 2019
Immuno-PCR (IPCR) is a powerful method in antigen detection where a PCR-amplifiable DNA reporter is conjugated to a specific antibody or an aptamer for the target molecule. In the development and application of IPCR, successful conjugation of a protein (an antibody) with a reporter DNA becomes challenging. To address this issue, we recently demonstrated the feasibility of IPCR based on cDNA display, a 1:1 covalent complex of a polypeptide and its encoding cDNA at the single molecule level. The cDNA display molecule for IPCR is generated first by transcribing the DNA that encodes the detection antibody into an mRNA by in vitro transcription. A puromycin DNA linker is then ligated to the mRNA and then in vitro translation and reverse-transcription are performed to generate the cDNA display molecule. The molecule is then directly used in antigen detection and subsequent qPCR. This method can be applied to detect various antigens in biological samples, if sequences of their single-domain antibodies (VHHs) or peptide aptamers are known.
1 Q&A 8257 Views Nov 20, 2019
Cancer is a disease characterized by altered metabolism, and there has been renewed interest in understanding the metabolism of tumors. Even though nutrient availability is a critical determinant of tumor metabolism, there has been little systematic study of the nutrients directly available to cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment. Previous work characterizing the metabolites present in the tumor interstitial fluid has been restricted to the measurement of a small number of nutrients such as glucose and lactate in a limited number of samples. Here we adapt a centrifugation-based method of tumor interstitial fluid isolation readily applicable to a number of sample types and a mass spectrometry-based method for the absolute quantitation of many metabolites in interstitial fluid samples. In this method, tumor interstitial fluid (TIF) is analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) using both isotope dilution and external standard calibration to derive absolute concentrations of targeted metabolites present in interstitial fluid. The use of isotope dilution allows for accurate absolute quantitation of metabolites, as other methods of quantitation are inadequate for determining nutrient concentrations in biological fluids due to matrix effects that alter the apparent concentration of metabolites depending on the composition of the fluid in which they are contained. This method therefore can be applied to measure the absolute concentrations of many metabolites in interstitial fluid from diverse tumor types, as well as most other biological fluids, allowing for characterization of nutrient levels in the microenvironment of solid tumors.

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