Cancer Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 1289 Views Sep 5, 2022

In the human cell cycle, complete replication of DNA is a fundamental process for the maintenance of genome integrity. Replication stress interfering with the progression of replication forks causes difficult-to-replicate regions to remain under-replicated until the onset of mitosis. In early mitosis, a homology-directed repair DNA synthesis, called mitotic DNA synthesis (MiDAS), is triggered to complete DNA replication. Here, we present a method to detect MiDAS in human U2OS 40-2-6 cells, in which repetitive lacO sequences integrated into the human chromosome evoke replication stress and concomitant incomplete replication of the lacO array. Immunostaining of BrdU and LacI proteins is applied for visualization of DNA synthesis in early mitosis and the lacO array, respectively. This protocol has been established to easily detect MiDAS at specific loci using only common immunostaining methods and may be optimized for the investigation of other difficult-to-replicate regions marked with site-specific binding proteins.

1 Q&A 2428 Views Aug 20, 2022

Stable cell cloning is an essential aspect of biological research. All advanced genome editing tools rely heavily on stable, pure, single cell-derived clones of genetically engineered cells. For years, researchers have depended on single-cell dilutions seeded in 96- or 192-well plates, followed by microscopic exclusion of the wells seeded with more than or without a cell. This method is not just laborious, time-consuming, and uneconomical but also liable to unintentional error in identifying the wells seeded with a single cell. All these disadvantages may increase the time needed to generate a stable clone. Here, we report an easy-to-follow and straightforward method to conveniently create pure, stable clones in less than half the time traditionally required. Our approach utilizes cloning cylinders with non-toxic tissue-tek gel, commonly used for immobilizing tissues for sectioning, followed by trypsinization and screening of the genome-edited clones. Our approach uses minimal cell handling steps, thus decreasing the time invested in generating the pure clones effortlessly and economically.

Graphical abstract:

A schematic comparison showing the traditional dilution cloning and the method described here. Here, a well-separated colony (in the green box) must be preferred over the colonies not well separated (in the red box).

0 Q&A 3292 Views Jul 20, 2022

Over the past years, research has made impressive breakthroughs towards the development and implementation of 3D cell models for a wide range of applications, such as drug development and testing, organogenesis, cancer biology, and personalized medicine. Opposed to 2D cell monolayer culture systems, advanced 3D cell models better represent the in vivo physiology. However, for these models to deliver scientific insights, appropriate investigation techniques are required. Despite the potential of fluorescence microscopy to visualize these models with high spatial resolution, sample preparation and imaging assays are not straightforward. Here, we provide different protocols of sample preparation for fluorescence imaging, for both matrix-embedded and matrix-free models (e.g., organoids and spheroids, respectively). Additionally, we provide detailed guidelines for imaging 3D cell models via confocal multi-photon fluorescence microscopy. We show that using these protocols, images of 3D cell culture systems can be obtained with sub-cellular resolution.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 7073 Views Feb 20, 2021

Current methods to obtain mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) involve sampling, culturing, and expanding of primary MSCs from adipose, bone marrow, and umbilical cord tissues. However, the drawbacks are the limited numbers of total cells in MSC pools, and their decaying stemness during in vitro expansion. As an alternative resource, recent ceiling culture methods allow the generation of dedifferentiated fat cells (DFATs) from mature adipocytes. Nevertheless, this process of spontaneous dedifferentiation of mature adipocytes is laborious and time-consuming. This paper describes a modified protocol for in vitro dedifferentiation of adipocytes by employing an additional physical stimulation, which takes advantage of augmenting the stemness-related Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Specifically, this protocol utilizes a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-containing hypertonic medium to introduce extracellular physical stimulation to obtain higher efficiency and introduce a simpler procedure for adipocyte dedifferentiation.

0 Q&A 4048 Views Feb 5, 2021

Connexins are membrane bound proteins that facilitate direct and local paracrine mediated cell-to-cell communication through their ability to oligomerise into hexameric hemichannels. When neighbouring channels align, they form gap-junctions that provide a direct route for information transfer between cells. In contrast to intact gap junctions, which typically open under physiological conditions, undocked hemichannels have a low open probability and mainly open in response to injury. Hemichannels permit the release of small molecules and ions (approximately 1kDa) into the local intercellular environment, and excessive expression/activity has been linked to a number of disease conditions. Carboxyfluorescein dye uptake measures functional expression of hemichannels, where increased hemichannel activity/function reflects increased loading. The technique relies on the uptake of a membrane-impermeable fluorescent tracer through open hemichannels, and can be used to compare channel activity between cell monolayers cultured under different conditions, e.g. control versus disease. Other techniques, such as biotinylation and electrophysiology can measure cell surface expression and hemichannel open probability respectively, however, carboxyfluorescein uptake provides a simple, rapid and cost-effective method to determine hemichannel activity in vitro in multiple cell types.

Graphic abstract

Using dye uptake to measure hemichannel activity

0 Q&A 5373 Views Jan 5, 2021

The in vitro cell adhesion assay is a quantitative method for measuring selective cell adhesion to specific proteins. Traditionally, cell adhesion assays employ purified protein immobilized on a solid glass or plastic surface. Here, we describe a transient 293T cell transfection-based cell adhesion assay to study selective cell adhesion of a specific cell type to a protein of interest. In this protocol, 293T cells are transfected with a mammalian expression plasmid containing mSiglec1 cDNA or an empty plasmid as a mock control and are then cultured to form a monolayer. Subsequently, these Siglec1-expressing and mock-transfected 293T cell monolayers are used for cell adhesion assays with GFP-expressing B16F10 cells. The number of GFP+ cancer cells adhering to each 293T monolayer is a quantitative mean to compare the selective adhesiveness of cancer cells to Siglec1. This method eliminates the need to express and purify the protein of interest to perform in vitro cell adhesion assays and can easily be performed with difficult-to-purify proteins while maintaining their native in situ structure.

0 Q&A 4275 Views Jan 5, 2021
Studying monocytic cells in isolated systems in vitro contributes significantly to the understanding of innate immune physiology. Functional assays produce read outs which can be used to measure responses to selected stimuli, such as pathogen exposure, antigen loading, and cytokine stimulation. Integration of these results with high quality in vivo models allows for the development of therapeutics which target these cell populations. Current methodologies to quantify phagocytic function of monocytic cells in vitro either measure phagocytic activity of individual cells (average number of beads or particles/cell), or a population outcome (% cells that contain phagocytosed material). Here we address technical challenges and shortcomings of these methods and present a protocol for collecting and analyzing data derived from a functional assay which measures phagocytic activity of macrophage and macrophage-like cells. We apply this method to two different experimental conditions, and compare to existing work flows. We also provide an online tool for users to upload and analyze data using this method.
0 Q&A 2911 Views Dec 20, 2020

Lipid droplets store triacylglycerols (triglycerides) and sterol esters to regulate lipid and energy homeostasis. Triacylglycerol measurement is often performed during the investigation of lipid droplet formation and growth. This protocol describes a reliable method using a fluorometric lipid quantification kit to measure triacylglycerols extracted from HeLa cells, which were treated with oleic acid to trigger the formation of lipid droplets. The lipid quantification kit employs a lipid-binding molecule that emits bright fluorescence only when bound to extracted triacylglycerols, whose content can be quantified by a simple fluorescence readout.

1 Q&A 3998 Views Jan 20, 2020
Cell surface protrusions include F-actin rich, wave-like ruffles that are erected transiently in response to stimuli and during cell migration. Macrophages are innate immune cells that ruffle constitutively and more dramatically in cells activated by pathogens. Dorsal ruffles and their resulting macropinosomes are key sites for environmental sampling, pathogen detection and immune signaling. Quantitative assessment of ruffling is important for assessing pathogen responses in macrophages and for analysis of growth factor responses in other cell types but automated and quantitative methods are lacking, and rely on manual and qualitative assessments. Here we present an automated ImageJ macro for quantifying dorsal cell surface protrusions from 3D microscope images. The assay presented here is suitable for high-throughput screening applications to detect drug, pathogen, or growth factor induced changes in cell ruffling by measuring ruffle area and intensity and providing normalized values in an easy to read combined spreadsheet.
0 Q&A 3897 Views Oct 20, 2019
Centrosome numerical abnormalities have been reported in a variety of tumors. Centrosome numbers in cancer cells display both inter-tumor and intra-tumor heterogeneity. The over production of centrosomes (centrosome amplification) is unique in cancer cells and is a promising target for therapy. Thus, a method to quantify centrosome numbers on a single cell level is needed. Here, we describe a protocol to quantify centrosome numbers in formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue samples by multiplexing antibodies to define bona fide centrosomes and cell borders. Centrosomes in single cells are identified using high resolution immunofluorescent microscopy with Z-sectioning. This protocol is easy to perform and has been used to quantify centrosome numbers on a single cell level in a variety of human tissue samples.

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