Cell Biology

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0 Q&A 312 Views Feb 20, 2023

Cardiac fibroblasts are one of the major constituents of a healthy heart. Cultured cardiac fibroblasts are a crucial resource for conducting studies on cardiac fibrosis. The existing methods for culturing cardiac fibroblasts involve complicated steps and require special reagents and instruments. The major problems faced with primary cardiac fibroblast culture are the low yield and viability of the cultured cells and contamination with other heart cell types, including cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and immune cells. Numerous parameters, including the quality of the reagents used for the culture, conditions maintained during digestion of the cardiac tissue, composition of the digestion mixture used, and age of the pups used for culture determine the yield and purity of the cultured cardiac fibroblasts. The present study describes a detailed and simplified protocol to isolate and culture primary cardiac fibroblasts from neonatal murine pups. We demonstrate the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts through transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 treatment, representing the changes in fibroblasts during cardiac fibrosis. These cells can be used to study the various aspects of cardiac fibrosis, inflammation, fibroblast proliferation, and growth.

0 Q&A 284 Views Feb 20, 2023

Far-western blotting, derived from the western blot, has been used to detect interactions between proteins in vitro, such as receptor–ligand interactions. The insulin signaling pathway plays a critical role in the regulation of both metabolism and cell growth. The binding of the insulin receptor substrate (IRS) to the insulin receptor is essential for the propagation of downstream signaling after the activation of the insulin receptor by insulin. Here, we describe a step-by-step far-western blotting protocol for determining the binding of IRS to the insulin receptor.

0 Q&A 217 Views Dec 20, 2022

Periodontal disease is a chronic multifactorial disease triggered by a complex of bacterial species. These interact with host tissues to cause the release of a broad array of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and tissue remodelers, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which lead to the destruction of periodontal tissues. Patients with severe forms of periodontitis are left with a persistent pro-inflammatory transcriptional profile throughout the periodontium, even after clinical intervention, leading to the destruction of teeth-supporting tissues. The oral spirochete, Treponema denticola , is consistently found at significantly elevated levels at sites with advanced periodontal disease. Of all T. denticola virulence factors that have been described, its chymotrypsin-like protease complex, also called dentilisin, has demonstrated a multitude of cytopathic effects consistent with periodontal disease pathogenesis, including alterations in cellular adhesion activity, degradation of various endogenous extracellular matrix–substrates, degradation of host chemokines and cytokines, and ectopic activation of host MMPs. Thus, the following model of T. denticola –human periodontal ligament cell interactions may provide new knowledge about the mechanisms that drive the chronicity of periodontal disease at the protein, transcriptional, and epigenetic levels, which could afford new putative therapeutic targets.

0 Q&A 1817 Views Jul 5, 2022

Understanding protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and interactome networks is essential to reveal molecular mechanisms mediating various cellular processes. The most common method to study PPIs in vivo is affinity purification combined with mass spectrometry (AP–MS). Although AP–MS is a powerful method, loss of weak and transient interactions is still a major limitation. Proximity labeling (PL) techniques have been developed as alternatives to overcome these limitations. Proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) is one such widely used PL method. The first-generation BioID enzyme BirA*, a promiscuous bacterial biotin ligase, has been effectively used in cultured mammalian cells; however, relatively slow enzyme kinetics make it less effective for temporal analysis of protein interactions. In addition, BirA* exhibits reduced activity at temperatures below 37°C, further restricting its use in intact organisms cultured at lower optimal growth temperatures (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster). TurboID, miniTurbo, and BirA*-G3 are next generation BirA* variants with improved catalytic activity, allowing investigators to use this powerful tool in model systems such as flies. Here, we describe a detailed experimental workflow to efficiently identify the proximal proteome (proximitome) of a protein of interest (POI) in the Drosophila brain using CRISPR/Cas9-induced homology-directed repair (HDR) strategies to endogenously tag the POI with next generation BioID enzymes.

0 Q&A 1881 Views May 20, 2022

Subcellular localization dynamics of proteins involved in signal transduction processes is crucial in determining the signaling outcome. However, there is very limited information about the localization of endogenous signaling proteins in living cells. For example, biochemical mechanisms underlying the signaling pathway from epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) to RAS-RAF and ERK1/2/MAPK are well understood, whereas the operational domains of this pathway in the cell remain poorly characterized. Tagging of endogenous components of signaling pathways with fluorescent proteins allows more accurate characterization of their intracellular dynamics at their native expression levels controlled by endogenous regulatory mechanisms, thus avoiding possible tainting effects of overexpression and mistargeting. In this study, we describe methodological approaches to label components of the EGFR-RAS-MAPK pathway, such as Grb2, KRAS, and NRAS, with the fluorescent protein mNeonGreen (mNG) using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing, as well as generation of homozygous single-cell clones of the edited target protein.

0 Q&A 1751 Views Feb 5, 2022

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a toxic oxidant produced as a byproduct of several biological processes. At too high levels of hydrogen peroxide cells will experience oxidative stress, leading to a cellular response to decrease its levels and to protect the cells. Previously, methods used to study and quantify intracellular H2O2 have been limited by both sensitivity and specificity. However, an increasing number of genetically encoded fluorescent indicators (GEFIs) are becoming available, which can specifically detect low levels of intracellular hydrogen peroxide. In this study, we use such a biosensor designed to monitor cytosolic H2O2 levels in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae during continuous cultivation and in the absence of a fluorescence microscope. The fluorescent biosensor contains a peroxiredoxin protein fused to an engineered GFP molecule expressed from a commonly used yeast plasmid (pRS416-TEF1). The peroxiredoxin-based fluorescent indicator reduces H2O2, ultimately resulting in a GFP signal being emitted by the sensor. Here, we apply this biosensor to study cytosolic H2O2 levels in S. cerevisiae strains with and without recombinant protein production.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic overview of experimental steps.

0 Q&A 1798 Views Dec 5, 2021

Bone is a dynamic tissue that adapts to changes in its mechanical environment. Mechanical stimuli pressurize interstitial fluid in the lacunar-canalicular system within the bone matrix, causing fluid shear stress (FSS) across bone embedded, mechano-sensitive osteocytes. Therefore, modeling this mechanical stimulus in vitro is vital for identifying mechano-transduction cascades that contribute to the regulation of mechano-responsive proteins, such as the Wnt/β-catenin antagonist, sclerostin, which is reduced in response to FSS. Recently, we reported the rapid post-translational degradation of sclerostin protein in bone cells following FSS. Given the fundamental nature of sclerostin to bone physiology and the nuances of studying its rapid post-translational control, here, we detail our FSS protocol, and adaptations that can be made, to stimulate Ocy454 osteocyte-like cells to study sclerostin protein in vitro. While this protocol is optimized for detecting sclerostin degradation by western blot, this protocol can be adapted to examine transcriptional changes with RT-qPCR, cellular dynamics with live cell imaging, or secreted factors in the FSS buffer. This protocol utilizes 3D-printed FSS tips that are compatible with commercially available 96-well plates, allowing for high experimental accessibility, versatility, and throughput. However, this protocol can be adapted for any FSS chamber. It can also be combined with pharmacological inhibitors or genetic manipulations to interrogate the role of specific cellular components. In all, this experimental set-up and protocol is highly adaptable to allow for many experimental outcomes to examine many aspects of cell mechano-transduction.

0 Q&A 2241 Views Feb 5, 2021

Signal transduction is the process by which molecular signals are transmitted from the cell surface to its interior, resulting in functional changes inside the cell. B cell receptor (BCR) signaling is of crucial importance for B cells, as it regulates their differentiation, selection, survival, cellular activation and proliferation. Upon BCR engagement by antigen several protein kinases, lipases and linker molecules become phosphorylated. Phosphoflow cytometry (phosphoflow) is a flow cytometry-based method allowing for analysis of protein phosphorylation in single cells. Due to recent advances in methodology and antibody availability – together with the relatively easy quantification of phosphorylation – phosphoflow is increasingly and more commonly used, compared to classical western blot analysis. It can however be challenging to set-up a method that works for all targets of interest. Here, we present a step-by-step phosphoflow protocol allowing the evaluation of the phosphorylation status of signaling molecules in conjunction with extensive staining to identify various human and murine B cell subpopulations, as was previously published in the original paper by Rip et al. (2020). Next to a description of phosphoflow targets from the original paper, we provide directions on additional targets that play a pivotal role in BCR signaling. The step-by-step phosphoflow protocol is user-friendly and provides sensitive detection of phosphorylation of various BCR signaling molecules in human and murine B cell subpopulations.

0 Q&A 3332 Views Sep 20, 2020
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the most structurally diverse family of signaling proteins and regulate a variety of cell function. For most GPCRs, the cell surface is their functional destination where they are able to respond a wide range of extracellular stimuli, leading to the activation of intracellular signal transduction cascades. Thus, the quantity of receptor expression at the cell surface is a crucial factor regulating the functionality of the receptors. Over the past decades, many methods have been developed to measure the cell surface expression of GPCRs. Here, we describe an intact live-cell radioligand binding assay to quantify the surface expression of GPCRs at the endogenous levels or after overexpression. In this assay, cell cultures will be incubated with specific cell-nonpermeable radioligands which selectively and stoichiometrically bind to individual GPCRs and the receptor numbers at the cell surface are quantified by the radioactivity of receptor-bound ligands. This method is highly specific for measuring the functional GPCRs at the surface of intact live cells and is particularly useful for endogenous, low-abundant GPCRs.
0 Q&A 4569 Views Sep 5, 2020
Depending on its concentration and cellular origin the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the organism serves a variety of functions. While high concentrations during an oxidative burst are used to fight pathogens, low to moderate amounts of ROS act as signaling molecules important for several physiological processes such as regulation of immune responses. The ROS-sensitive dye 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA) is an inexpensive and well-established tool for measuring intracellular ROS levels. However, it needs to be carefully controlled to be able to draw firm conclusions on the nature of ROS species produced and the cellular source of ROS generation such as the enzyme complex NADPH-oxidase 2 (NOX-2). In this protocol, a robust method to determine low intracellular ROS production using H2DCFDA was validated by several ROS-specific as well as NOX-2-specific inhibitors. Cells were treated with inhibitors or control substances prior to treatment with the ROS-inducer of interest. H2DCFDA was added only for the last 30 min of the treatment schedule. To terminate its conversion, we used a ROS-specific inhibitor until analysis by flow cytometry within the FITC-channel (Ex: 488 nm/Em: 519 nm). In summary, this protocol allows the detection of signaling-relevant intracellular ROS production in cell lines and primary immune cells (e.g., Mono Mac 6 cells and Bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, respectively). Using this method in combination with specific inhibitors, we were able to validate even exceptionally low amounts of ROS produced by NOX-2 and relevant for immune-regulatory signaling.

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