Cell Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1499 Views Apr 5, 2022

Macropinocytosis is an evolutionarily conserved process, which is characterized by the formation of membrane ruffles and the uptake of extracellular fluid. We recently demonstrated a role for CYFIP-related Rac1 Interactor (CYRI) proteins in macropinocytosis. High-molecular weight dextran (70kDa or higher) has generally been used as a marker for macropinocytosis because it is too large to fit in smaller endocytic vesicles, such as those of clathrin or caveolin-mediated endocytosis. Through the use of an image-based dextran uptake assay, we showed that cells lacking CYRI proteins internalise less dextran compared to their wild-type counterparts. Here, we will describe a step-by-step experimentation procedure to detect internalised dextran in cultured cells, and an image pipeline to analyse the acquired images, using the open-access software ImageJ/Fiji. This protocol is detailed yet simple and easily adaptable to different treatment conditions, and the analysis can also be automated for improved processing speed.

0 Q&A 1781 Views Dec 20, 2021

Reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species (RONS) are involved in programmed cell death in the context of numerous degenerative and chronic diseases. In particular, the ability of cells to maintain redox homeostasis is necessary for an adaptive cellular response to adverse conditions that can cause damage to proteins and DNA, resulting in apoptosis and genetic mutations. Here, we focus on the 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFH2-DA) assay to detect RONS. Although this fluorescence-based assay is widely utilized due to its high sensitivity to detect changes in cellular redox status that allow measuring alterations in RONS over time, its validity has been a matter of controversy. If correctly carried out, its limitations are understood and results are correctly interpreted, the DCFH2-DA assay is a valuable tool for cell-based studies.

0 Q&A 3567 Views Sep 20, 2020
As one of the main energy metabolism organs, kidney has been proved to have high energy requirements and are more inclined to fatty acid metabolism as the main energy source. Long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenases (LCAD) and beta-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (beta-HAD), key enzymes involved in fatty acid oxidation, has been identified as the substrate of acetyltransferase GCN5L1 and deacetylase Sirt3. Acetylation levels of LCAD and beta-HAD regulate its enzymes activity and thus affect fatty acid oxidation rate. Moreover, immunoprecipitation is a key assay for the detection of LCAD and beta-HAD acetylation levels. Here we describe a protocol of immunoprecipitation of acetyl-lysine and western blotting of LCAD and beta-HAD in palmitic acid treated HK-2 cells (human renal tubular epithelial cells). The scheme provides the readers with clear steps so that this method could be applied to detect the acetylation level of various proteins.
0 Q&A 4270 Views Jul 5, 2020
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are formed mainly by bacteria fermenting undigested carbohydrates in the colon, they are based on the number of carbon atoms in the carbon chain. Organic fatty acids with less than 6 carbon atoms are called short-chain fatty acids. SCFAs are closely related to various aspects of the human body, so more and more researchers concentrate on SCFAs. This protocol describes, a direct injection gas chromatography detection method with a pretreatment method for extracting SCFA from mice feces by combining acidification. The corresponding sample limit of quantization (LOQ) and limit of detection (LOD) are 0.8-1.0 mg/L and 0.5-0.8 mg/L, respectively. The correlation coefficient of calibration curve is greater than 0.999. The recovery rate of the spiked standard is 80%-102%. This method can be used to analyze and determine SCFAs in mice feces. Therefore, this is an economical, effective and reproducible method for SCFAs measurement in mice samples.
0 Q&A 3883 Views Apr 5, 2020
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a stress responsive enzyme that metabolizes heme and releases free iron, carbon monoxide (CO), and biliverdin (BV), which rapidly undergoes conversion to bilirubin (BL). Estimation of bilirubin is the basis of HO-1 assay. HO-1 activity is widely employed to determine antioxidant response of cells under different physiological stress environment. Intra-macrophage infection often acts as such a stress inducer and measurement of HO-1 activity in infected cells indicates the ability of pathogens towards modulating oxidative response of host. The present protocol describes analysis of HO-1 activity in infected macrophages by spectrophotometric method, which is much less complex and therefore advantageous over other methods like high-performance liquid chromatography, radiochemical methods and detection of CO by gas chromatography. The main steps include: (1) Preparation of macrophage microsomal fraction containing HO-1 (2) Isolation of rat liver cytosolic fraction containing biliverdin reductase and (3) Assessment of heme oxygenase-1 activity by spectrophotometric detection of bilirubin. This method provides a simple and sensitive approach to measure cellular antioxidant response under infected condition.
0 Q&A 4836 Views Feb 20, 2019
Cryopreservation is commonly used for the storage of cells, tissues, organs or 3D cell-based products using ultra-low temperatures, which involves the immersion in liquid nitrogen for their long-term preservation. The cryopreservation of several microencapsulated cells is usually performed by the slow freezing with the dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a cryoprotectant agent (CPA). In this study, we cryopreserved several microencapsulated cells with the natural, non-toxic low molecular-weight hyaluronan (LMW-HA) at 5% and DMSO 10% solution assessing cell viability and metabolic activity after thawing. The cryopreservation of microencapsulated D1 mesenchymal stem cells (D1MSC) and murine myoblast cells (C2C12) with the LMW-HA 5% presented similar outcomes after thawing compared to the DMSO solution, showing the low molecular weight hyaluronan as a natural, non-toxic CPA that can be used preventing the DMSO related adverse effects after the implantation of the cryopreserved cell-based products.
0 Q&A 11696 Views Oct 20, 2018
Murine pharmacokinetics (PK) represents the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of drugs from the body, which helps to guide clinical studies, ultimately resulting in more effective drug treatment. The purpose of this protocol is to describe a serial bleeding protocol, obtaining blood samples at six time points from single mouse to yield a complete PK profile. This protocol has proved to be rapid, highly repeatable, and relatively easy to acquire. Comparing with the conventional PK studies, this method not only dramatically reduces animal usage, but also decreases sample variation obtained from different animals.
0 Q&A 6324 Views Sep 5, 2018
Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze the citric acid cycle (CAC) and related intermediates (such as glutamate, glutamine, GABA, and aspartate) is an analytical approach to identify unexpected correlations between apparently related and unrelated pathways of energy metabolism. Intermediates can be as expressed as their absolute concentrations or relative ratios by using known amounts of added reference standards to the sample. GC-MS can also distinguish between heavy labeled molecules (2H- or 13C-labeled) and the naturally occurring most abundant molecules. Applications using tracers can also assess the turnover of specific metabolic pools under various physiological and pathological conditions as well as for pathway discovery.

The following protocol is a relatively simple method that is not only sensitive for small concentrations of metabolic intermediates but can also be used in vivo or in vitro to determine the integrity of various metabolic pathways, such as flux changes within specific metabolite pools. We used this protocol to determine the role of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (Pck1) gene in mouse macrophage cells to determine the percent contribution from a precursor of 13C labeled glucose into specific CAC metabolite pools.
0 Q&A 4842 Views Aug 20, 2018
We used in vivo and in vitro phosphorus-31 nuclear magnetic resonance (31P-NMR) spectroscopy to follow the change in transport, compartmentation and metabolism of phosphate in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Hebeloma cylindrosporum in response to root signals originating from host (Pinus pinaster) or non-host (Zea mays) plants. A device was developed for the in vivo studies allowing the circulation of a continuously oxygenated mineral solution in an NMR tube containing the mycelia. The in vitro studies were performed on fungal material after several consecutive treatment steps (freezing in liquid nitrogen; crushing with perchloric acid; elimination of perchloric acid; freeze-drying; dissolution in an appropriate liquid medium).
1 Q&A 67222 Views May 20, 2018
Mammalian cells generate ATP by mitochondrial (oxidative phosphorylation) and non-mitochondrial (glycolysis) metabolism. Cancer cells are known to reprogram their metabolism using different strategies to meet energetic and anabolic needs (Koppenol et al., 2011; Zheng, 2012). Additionally, each cancer tissue has its own individual metabolic features. Mitochondria not only play a key role in energy metabolism but also in cell cycle regulation of cells. Therefore, mitochondria have emerged as a potential target for anticancer therapy since they are structurally and functionally different from their non-cancerous counterparts (D'Souza et al., 2011). We detail a protocol for measurement of oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) measurements in living cells, utilizing the Seahorse XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer (Figure 1). The Seahorse XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer continuously measures oxygen concentration and proton flux in the cell supernatant over time (Wu et al., 2007). These measurements are converted in OCR and ECAR values and enable a direct quantification of mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis. With this protocol, we sought to assess basal mitochondrial function and mitochondrial stress of three different cancer cell lines in response to the cytotoxic test lead compound mensacarcin in order to investigate its mechanism of action. Cells were plated in XF24 cell culture plates and maintained for 24 h. Prior to analysis, the culture media was replaced with unbuffered DMEM pH 7.4 and cells were then allowed to equilibrate in a non-CO2 incubator immediately before metabolic flux analysis using the Seahorse XF to allow for precise measurements of Milli-pH unit changes. OCR and ECAR were measured under basal conditions and after injection of compounds through drug injection ports. With the described protocol we assess the basic energy metabolism profiles of the three cell lines as well as key parameters of mitochondrial function in response to our test compound and by sequential addition of mitochondria perturbing agents oligomycin, FCCP and rotenone/antimycin A.

Figure 1. Overview of seahorse experiment

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