0 Q&A 99 Views Dec 5, 2023

Exosomes are a subpopulation of the heterogenous pool of extracellular vesicles that are secreted to the extracellular space. Exosomes have been purported to play a role in intercellular communication and have demonstrated utility as biomarkers for a variety of diseases. Despite broad interest in exosome biology, the conditions that regulate their secretion are incompletely understood. The goal of this procedure is to biochemically reconstitute exosome secretion in Streptolysin O (SLO)-permeabilized mammalian cells. This protocol describes the reconstitution of lyophilized SLO, preparation of cytosol and SLO-permeabilized cells, assembly of the biochemical reconstitution reaction, and quantification of exosome secretion using a sensitive luminescence-based assay. This biochemical reconstitution reaction can be utilized to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which different gene products regulate exosome secretion.

Key features

• This protocol establishes a functional in vitro system to reconstitute exosome secretion in permeabilized mammalian cells upon addition of cytosol, ATP, GTP, and calcium (Ca2+).

Graphical overview

Schematic overview of the exosome secretion biochemical reconstitution protocol. Streptolysin O (SLO) is prepared as described in Procedure A. Cytosol is isolated from HCT116 WT cells as described in Procedure B. HCT116 CD63-Nluc cells are permeabilized by SLO as detailed in Procedure C. The assembly of the exosome secretion reactions are described in Procedure D. Quantification of CD63-Nluc secretion is detailed in Procedure E (Modified from Williams et al., 2023).
0 Q&A 57 Views Dec 5, 2023

The hypothalamus is an evolutionarily ancient part of the vertebrate ventral forebrain that integrates the dialogue between environment, peripheral body, and brain to centrally govern an array of physiologies and behaviours. Characterizing the mechanisms that control hypothalamic development illuminates both hypothalamic organization and function. Critical to the ability to unravel such mechanisms is the skill to isolate hypothalamic tissue, enabling both its acute analysis and its analysis after explant and culture. Tissue explants, in which cells develop in a manner analogous to their in vivo counterparts, are a highly effective tool to investigate the extrinsic signals and tissue-intrinsic self-organising features that drive hypothalamic development. The hypothalamus, however, is induced and patterned at neural tube stages of development, when the tissue is difficult to isolate, and its resident cells complex to define. No single molecular marker distinguishes early hypothalamic progenitor subsets from other cell types in the neural tube, and so their accurate dissection requires the simultaneous analysis of multiple proteins or mRNAs, techniques that were previously limited by antibody availability or were arduous to perform. Here, we overcome these challenges. We describe methodologies to precisely isolate early hypothalamic tissue from the embryonic chick at three distinct patterning stages and to culture hypothalamic explants in three-dimensional gels. We then describe optimised protocols for the analysis of embryos, isolated embryonic tissue, or cultured hypothalamic explants by multiplex hybridisation chain reaction. These methods can be applied to other vertebrates, including mouse, and to other tissue types.

Key features

• Detailed protocols for enzymatic isolation of embryonic chick hypothalamus at three patterning stages; methods can be extended to other vertebrates and tissues.

• Brief methodologies for three-dimensional culture of hypothalamic tissue explants.

• Optimised protocols for multiplex hybridisation chain reaction for analysis of embryos, isolated embryonic tissues, or explants.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 43 Views Dec 5, 2023

Neovascular diseases of the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), are proliferative retinopathies involving the growth of new blood vessels on the retina, which in turn causes impairment and potential loss of vision. A drawback of conventional angiogenesis assays is that they are not representative of the angiogenic processes in the retina. In the retina, the new blood vessels grow (from pre-existing blood vessels) and migrate into a non-perfused region of the eye including the inner limiting membrane of the retina and the vitreous, both of which contribute to vision loss. The Matrigel Duplex Assay (MDA) measures the migration of angiogenic capillaries from a primary Matrigel layer to a secondary Matrigel layer, which resembles the pathological angiogenesis in AMD and DR. The methodology of MDA is comprised of two steps. In the first step, the human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs) are mixed with phenol red–containing Matrigel (in a 1:1 ratio) and seeded in the center of an 8-well chamber slide. After 24 h, a second layer of phenol red–free Matrigel is overlaid over the first layer. Over the course of the next 24 h, the HRMECs invade from the primary Matrigel layer to the secondary layer. Subsequently, the angiogenic sprouts are visualized by brightfield phase contrast microscopy and quantified by ImageJ software. The present manuscript measures the angiogenesis-inhibitory activity of the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 in primary HRMECs using the MDA. The MDA may be used for multiple applications like screening anti-angiogenic drugs, measuring the pro-angiogenic activity of growth factors, and elucidating signaling pathways underlying retinal angiogenesis in normal and disease states.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 126 Views Nov 5, 2023

Lysine acetylation is a conserved post-translational modification and a key regulatory mechanism for various cellular processes, including metabolic control, epigenetic regulation, and cellular signaling transduction. Recent advances in mass spectrometry (MS) enable the extensive identification of acetylated lysine residues of histone and non-histone proteins. However, protein enrichment before MS analysis may be necessary to improve the detection of low-abundant proteins or proteins that exhibit low acetylation levels. Fatty acid synthase (FASN), an essential enzyme catalyzing the de novo synthesis of fatty acids, has been found to be acetylated in various species, from fruit flies to humans. Here, we describe a step-by-step process of antibody-based protein enrichment and sample preparation for acetylation identification of endogenous FASN protein by MS-based proteomics analysis. Meanwhile, we provide a protocol for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) absorbance assay for FASN activity measurement, which is one of the primary functional readouts of de novo lipogenesis.

Key features

• A comprehensive protocol for protein immunoprecipitation and sample preparation for acetylation site identification by mass spectrometry.

• Step-by-step procedures for measurement of FASN activity of fruit fly larvae using an absorbance assay.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 131 Views Nov 5, 2023

Cell migration is an essential biological process for organisms, in processes including embryonic development, immune response, and cancer metastasis. To elucidate the regulatory machinery of this vital process, methods that mimic in vivo migration, including in vitro wound healing assay and random migration assay, are widely used for cell behavior investigation. However, several concerns are raised with traditional cell migration experiment analysis. First, a manually scratched wound often presents irregular edges, causing the speed analysis difficult. Second, only the migration speed of leading cells is considered in the wound healing assay. Here, we provide a reliable analysis method to trace each cell in the time-lapse images, eliminating the concern about wound shape and creating a more comprehensive understanding of cell migration—not only of collective migration speed but also single-cell directionality and coordination between cells.

0 Q&A 160 Views Nov 5, 2023

Pancreatic islet β cells preferentially secrete insulin toward the plasma membrane, making contact with the capillary extracellular matrix (ECM). Isolated islets separated from the exocrine acinar cells are the best system for cell biology studies of primary β cells, whereas isolated islets lose their capillary network during ex vivo culture. Providing the appropriate extracellular signaling by attaching islets to vascular ECM-coated surfaces can restore the polarized insulin secretion toward the ECM. The guided secretion toward ECM-coated glass coverslips provides a good model for recording insulin secretion in real time to study its regulation. Additionally, β cells attached to the ECM-coated coverslips are suitable for confocal live imaging of subcellular components including adhesion molecules, cytoskeleton, and ion channels. This procedure is also compatible for total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, which provides optimal signal-to-noise ratio and high spatial precision of structures close to the plasma membrane. In this article, we describe the optimized protocol for vascular ECM-coating of glass coverslips and the process of attachment of isolated mouse islets on the coverslip. This preparation is compatible with any high-resolution microscopy of live primary β cells.

Key features

• Optimized coating procedure to attach isolated islets, compatible for both confocal and TIRF microscopy.

• The ECM-coated glass coverslip functions as the artificial capillary surface to guide secretion toward the coated surface for optimal imaging of secretion events.

• Shows the process of islets attachment to the ECM-coated surface in a 6-day ex vivo culture.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 285 Views Nov 5, 2023

Cell signaling is highly integrated for the process of various cell activities. Although previous studies have shown how individual genes contribute to cell migration, it remains unclear how the integration of these signaling pathways is involved in the modulation of cell migration. In our two-hit migration screen, we revealed that serine-threonine kinase 40 (STK40) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) worked synergistically, and the suppression of both genes could further lead to suppression in cell migration. Furthermore, based on our analysis of cellular focal adhesion (FA) parameters using MATLAB analysis, we are able to find out the synergistic reduction of STK40 and MAPK that further abolished the increased FA by shSTK40. While FA identification in previous studies includes image analysis using manual selection, our protocol provides a semi-automatic manual selection of FAs using MATLAB. Here, we provide a method that can shorten the amount of time required for manual identification of FAs and increase the precision for discerning individual FAs for various analyses, such as FA numbers, area, and mean signals.

0 Q&A 225 Views Nov 5, 2023

Medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTEC) are bona fide antigen-presenting cells that play a crucial role in the induction of T-cell tolerance. By their unique ability to express a broad range of tissue-restricted self-antigens, mTEC control the clonal deletion (also known as negative selection) of potentially hazardous autoreactive T cells and the generation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Here, we describe a protocol to assess major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigen-presentation capacity of mTEC to CD4+ T cells. We detail the different steps of thymus enzymatic digestion, immunostaining, cell sorting of mTEC and CD4+ T cells, peptide-loading of mTEC, and the co-culture between these two cell types. Finally, we describe the flow cytometry protocol and the subsequent analysis to assess the activation of CD4+ T cells. This rapid co-culture assay enables the evaluation of the ability of mTEC to present antigens to CD4+ T cells in an antigen-specific context.

Key features

• This protocol builds upon the method used by Lopes et al. (2018 and 2022) and Charaix et al. (2022).

• This protocol requires transgenic mice, such as OTIIxRag2-/- mice and the cognate peptide OVA323–339, to assess mTEC antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells.

• This requires specific equipment such as a Miltenyi Biotec AutoMACS® Pro Separator, a BD FACSAriaTM III cell sorter, and a BD® LSR II flow cytometer.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 238 Views Nov 5, 2023

The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) is a multi-component pathway that mediates the transfer of electrons from metabolic reactions that occur in the mitochondrion to molecular oxygen (O2). The ETC contributes to numerous cellular processes, including the generation of cellular ATP through oxidative phosphorylation, serving as an electron sink for metabolic pathways such as de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis and for maintaining mitochondrial membrane potential. Proper functioning of the mitochondrial ETC is necessary for the growth and survival of apicomplexan parasites including Plasmodium falciparum, a causative agent of malaria. The mitochondrial ETC of P. falciparum is an attractive target for antimalarial drugs, due to its essentiality and its differences from the mammalian ETC. To identify novel P. falciparum ETC inhibitors, we have established a real-time assay to assess ETC function, which we describe here. This approach measures the O2 consumption rate (OCR) of permeabilized P. falciparum parasites using a Seahorse XFe96 flux analyzer and can be used to screen compound libraries for the identification of ETC inhibitors and, in part, to determine the targets of those inhibitors.

Key features

• With this protocol, the effects of candidate inhibitors on mitochondrial O2 consumption in permeabilized asexual P. falciparum parasites can be tested in real time.

• Through the sequential injection of inhibitors and substrates into the assay, the molecular targets of candidate inhibitors in the ETC can, in part, be determined.

• The assay is applicable for both drug discovery approaches and enquiries into a fundamental aspect of parasite mitochondrial biology.

Graphical overview

Seahorse assay experimental workflow. Prior to the assay, coat the cell culture microplate with Cell-Tak to help adhere the parasites to the wells; hydrate the cartridge wells to ensure proper sensor functionality and design the assay template using the Agilent Seahorse Wave Desktop software (Analyze Seahorse data files, Seahorse Wave desktop software|Agilent). On the day of the assay, prepare the inhibitors/substrates that are to be injected into the ports. Then, separate 3 × 108 trophozoite-stage parasites from the uninfected red blood cells (RBCs) and ring-stage parasites using a MACS® magnetic column. Check the purity of the parasites with Giemsa-stained smears. Determine the concentration of infected RBCs in the sample using a hemocytometer and dilute to approximately 5 × 107 parasites per milliliter. Treat infected RBCs with saponin to permeabilize the host cell membrane and seed approximately 5 × 106 parasites (100 μL) per well in mitochondria assay solution (MAS) buffer. Supplement MAS buffer with digitonin to permeabilize the parasite plasma membrane. Load the ports with the prepared inhibitors/substrates and run the assay using a Seahorse XFe96 analyzer. Once the assay is completed, analyze the data using the Wave desktop software. Further data processing can be done using statistical analysis software.

0 Q&A 263 Views Oct 5, 2023

Adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in two neurogenic areas of the brain, the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone, are major players in adult neurogenesis. Addressing specific questions regarding NSPCs outside of their niche entails in vitro studies through isolation and culture of these cells. As there is heterogeneity in their morphology, proliferation, and differentiation capacity between these two neurogenic areas, NSPCs should be isolated from each area through specific procedures and media. Identifying region-specific NPSCs provides an accurate pathway for assessing the effects of extrinsic factors and drugs on these cells and investigating the mechanisms of neurogenesis in both healthy and pathologic conditions. A great number of isolation and expansion techniques for NSPCs have been reported. The growth and expansion of NSPCs obtained from the dentate gyrus of aged rats are generally difficult. There are relatively limited data and protocols about NSPCs isolation and their culture from aged rats. Our approach is an efficient and reliable strategy to isolate and expand NSPCs obtained from young adult and aged rats. NSPCs isolated by this method maintain their self-renewal and multipotency.

Key features

• NSPCs isolated from the hippocampal dentate gyrus of young adult and aged rats, based on Kempermann et al. (2014) and Aligholi et al. (2014).

• Maintenance of NSPCs isolated from the dentate gyrus of aged rats (20–24 months) in our culture condition is feasible.

• According to our protocol, maximum growth of primary neurospheres obtained from isolated NSPCs of young and aged rats took 15 and 35 days, respectively.

Graphical overview

Isolation and expansion of neural stem/progenitor cells

0 Q&A 253 Views Oct 5, 2023

Disruptions and perturbations of the cellular plasma membrane by peptides have garnered significant interest in the elucidation of biological phenomena. Typically, these complex processes are studied using liposomes as model membranes—either by encapsulating a fluorescent dye or by other spectroscopic approaches, such as nuclear magnetic resonance. Despite incorporating physiologically relevant lipids, no synthetic model truly recapitulates the full complexity and molecular diversity of the plasma membrane. Here, biologically representative membrane models, giant plasma membrane vesicles (GPMVs), are prepared from eukaryotic cells by inducing a budding event with a chemical stressor. The GPMVs are then isolated, and bilayers are labelled with fluorescent lipophilic tracers and incubated in a microplate with a membrane-active peptide. As the membranes become damaged and/or aggregate, the resulting fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between the two tracers increases and is measured periodically in a microplate. This approach offers a particularly useful way to detect perturbations when the membrane complexity is an important variable to consider. Additionally, it provides a way to kinetically detect damage to the plasma membrane, which can be correlated with the kinetics of peptide self-assembly or structural rearrangements.

Key features

• Allows testing of various peptide–membrane interaction conditions (peptide:phospholipid ratio, ionic strength, buffer, etc.) at once.

• Uses intact plasma membrane vesicles that can be prepared from a variety of cell lines.

• Can offer comparable throughput as with traditional synthetic lipid models (e.g., dye-encapsulated liposomes).

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 201 Views Oct 5, 2023

Fertilized teleost fish eggs are a complex formation, in which dividing cells arelocated in a small point in the entire volume of eggs. Isolating embryonic cellscan be considered a necessary step in the research of developmentalpeculiarities of fish cells at the earliest stages of embryogenesis beforeembryo formation. The main advantages of the offered protocol are rapidisolation, no enzymes, and overall low cost compared to other protocols. Theprotocol is suitable for the isolation of embryonic cells from medium-sized eggsat the stages of blastula or gastrula, for studies in a variety of applications(e.g., microscopy, flow cytometry, and other methods). Fertilized nelma eggs(Stenodus leucichthys nelma) are used in the protocol as a model.

Key features

• Fast and cheap isolation of cells from fish eggs at early stages (blastula orgastrula).

• Applicable for most of the methods for cell study (any staining, microscopy, flowcytometry, etc.).

• Can be applied to other teleost fish eggs with medium egg diameter of 3–4mm.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 341 Views Oct 5, 2023

B cells play a critical role in host defense, producing antibodies in response to microbial infection. An inability to produce an effective antibody response leaves affected individuals prone to serious infection; therefore, proper B-cell development is essential to human health. B-cell development begins in the bone marrow and progresses through various stages until maturation occurs in the spleen. This process involves several sequential, complex events, starting with pre- and pro-B cells, which rearrange the heavy and light chain genes responsible for producing clonally diverse immunoglobulin (Ig) molecules. These cells then differentiate into immature B cells, followed by mature B cells. The bone marrow is a complex ecological niche of supporting stromal cells, extracellular matrix components, macrophages, and hematopoietic precursor cells influencing B-cell development, maturation, and differentiation. Once fully mature, B cells circulate in peripheral lymphoid organs and can respond to antigenic stimuli. As specific cell surface markers are expressed during each stage of B-cell development, researchers use flow cytometry as a powerful tool to evaluate developmental progression. In this protocol, we provide a step-by-step method for bone marrow isolation, cell staining, and data analysis. This tool will help researchers gain a deeper understanding of the progression of B-cell development and provide a pertinent flow gating strategy.