Intracellular phospho-protein staining techniques for flow cytometry: Monitoring single cell signaling events
ABSTRACT Recent advances in intracellular staining techniques, cytometer technology, fluorescent reagents, and antibody production have expanded the number of intracellular antigens that can be analyzed by flow cytometry. Measurement of protein phosphorylation with phospho-specific antibodies has given insight into kinase signaling cascades. However, available techniques for phospho-epitope staining can differ greatly, making it necessary to understand the differences between the outcomes when such techniques are applied and to develop robust and reproducible methods of application.
Ten different cellular fixation and permeabilization techniques were tested for their ability to provide phospho-specific staining. Combinations of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, acetone, Triton X-100, and saponin were used as fixation and permeabilization reagents. Phospho-specific antibodies were labeled with Alexa Fluor dyes to provide multicolor analysis of different signaling events simultaneously within individual cells.
Fixing cells with 1.5% formaldehyde followed by permeabilization in methanol gave optimal results for pERK, pp38, pJNK, pStat1, pStat5, and pStat6 staining. Alteration of formaldehyde fixation and methanol permeabilization times affected measurements of phosphorylation induction. Phospho-specific flow cytometric analyses correlated well with Western blotting, providing cross platform validation of the technique.
Measuring phosphorylation events by flow cytometry provides a rapid and efficient way to measure kinase cascades in individual cells. Stability of phospho-epitopes in methanol allows long-term storage of samples prior to analysis. Multiple signaling cascades can be monitored simultaneously through the use of different fluorophore labels to determine specificity of ligands or inhibitors. Application of optimized techniques to heterogeneous cell types such as peripheral blood or murine splenocytes may allow signaling to be analyzed simultaneously in immune cell subsets.
SourceAvailable from: Chiara Palmi[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Despite increasingly successful treatment of pediatric ALL, up to 20% of patients encounter relapse. By current biomarkers, the majority of relapse patients is initially not identified indicating the need for prognostic and therapeutic targets reflecting leukemia biology. We previously described that rapid engraftment of patient ALL cells transplanted onto NOD/SCID mice (short time to leukemia, TTLshort) is indicative of early patient relapse. Gene expression profiling identified genes coding for molecules involved in mTOR signaling to be associated with TTLshort/early relapse leukemia. Here, we now functionally address mTOR signaling activity in primograft ALL samples and evaluate mTOR pathway inhibition as novel treatment strategy for high-risk ALL ex vivo and in vivo. By analysis of S6-phosphorylation downstream of mTOR, increased mTOR activation was found in TTLshort/high-risk ALL, which was effectively abrogated by mTOR inhibitors resulting in decreased leukemia proliferation and growth. In a preclinical setting treating individual patient-derived ALL in vivo, mTOR inhibition alone, and even more pronounced together with conventional remission induction therapy, significantly delayed post-treatment leukemia reoccurrence in TTLshort/high-risk ALL. Thus, the TTLshort phenotype is functionally characterized by hyperactivated mTOR signaling and can effectively be targeted ex vivo and in vivo providing a novel therapeutic strategy for high-risk ALL.Oncotarget 01/2015; 6(3):1382-95. · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Most cell-surface receptors for cytokines and growth factors signal as dimers, but it is unclear whether remodeling receptor dimer topology is a viable strategy to “tune” signaling output. We utilized diabodies (DA) as surrogate ligands in a prototypical dimeric receptor-ligand system, the cytokine Erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EpoR), to dimerize EpoR ectodomains in non-native architectures. Diabody-induced signaling amplitudes varied from full to minimal agonism, and structures of these DA/EpoR complexes differed in EpoR dimer orientation and proximity. Diabodies also elicited biased or differential activation of signaling pathways and gene expression profiles compared to EPO. Non-signaling diabodies inhibited proliferation of erythroid precursors from patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm due to a constitutively active JAK2V617F mutation. Thus, intracellular oncogenic mutations causing ligand-independent receptor activation can be counteracted by extracellular ligands that re-orient receptors into inactive dimer topologies. This approach has broad applications for tuning signaling output for many dimeric receptor systems.Cell 03/2015; 160:1-13. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.011 · 33.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Modern flow cytometers can make optical measurements of 10 or more parameters per cell at tens of thousands of cells per second and more than five orders of magnitude dynamic range. Although flow cytometry is used in most drug discovery stages, "sip-and-spit" sampling technology has restricted it to low-sample-throughput applications. The advent of HyperCyt sampling technology has recently made possible primary screening applications in which tens of thousands of compounds are analyzed per day. Target-multiplexing methodologies in combination with extended multiparameter analyses enable profiling of lead candidates early in the discovery process, when the greatest numbers of candidates are available for evaluation. The ability to sample small volumes with negligible waste reduces reagent costs, compound usage, and consumption of cells. Improved compound library formatting strategies can further extend primary screening opportunities when samples are scarce. Dozens of targets have been screened in 384- and 1536-well assay formats, predominantly in academic screening lab settings. In concert with commercial platform evolution and trending drug discovery strategies, HyperCyt-based systems are now finding their way into mainstream screening labs. Recent advances in flow-based imaging, mass spectrometry, and parallel sample processing promise dramatically expanded single-cell profiling capabilities to bolster systems-level approaches to drug discovery. © 2015 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.Journal of Biomolecular Screening 03/2015; DOI:10.1177/1087057115578273 · 2.01 Impact Factor