[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smooth muscle cells convert between a motile, proliferative "synthetic" phenotype and a sessile, "contractile" phenotype. The ability to manipulate the phenotype of aortic smooth muscle cells with thin biocompatible polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMUs) with common surface chemical characteristics but varying stiffness was investigated. The stiffness of (PAH/PAA) PEMUs was varied by heating to form covalent amide bond cross-links between the layers. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) showed that cross-linked PEMUs were thinner than those that were not cross-linked. AFM nanoindentation demonstrated that the Young's modulus ranged from 6 MPa for hydrated native PEMUs to more than 8 GPa for maximally cross-linked PEMUs. Rat aortic A7r5 smooth muscle cells cultured on native PEMUs exhibited morphology and motility of synthetic cells and expression of the synthetic phenotype markers vimentin, tropomyosin 4, and nonmuscle myosin heavy chain IIB (nmMHCIIB). In comparison, cells cultured on maximally cross-linked PEMUs exhibited the phenotype markers calponin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (smMHC), myocardin, transgelin, and smooth muscle alpha-actin (smActin) that are characteristic of the smooth muscle "contractile" phenotype. Consistent with those cells being "contractile", A7r5 cells grown on cross-linked PEMUs produced contractile force when stimulated with a Ca(2+) ionophore.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report dual-color superresolution imaging using endogenously expressed fluorescent proteins. An imaging resolution of 20-30 nm facilitates study of the ultrastructural relationship between proteins present in adhesion complexes at the surfaces of whole, fixed cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the most promising imaging techniques for monitoring dynamic protein interactions in living cells with optical microscopy, universally referred to as FRET, employs the non-radiative transfer of energy between two closely adjacent spectrally active molecules, often fluorescent proteins. The use of FRET in cell biology has expanded to such a degree that hundreds of papers are now published each year using biosensors to monitor a wide spectrum of intracellular processes. Most of these sensors sandwich an environmentally active peptide between cyan and yellow fluorescent protein (CFP and YFP) derivatives to assay variables such as pH, calcium ion concentration, enzyme activity, or membrane potential. The availability of these sensitive indicators is growing rapidly, but many are hampered by a low dynamic range that often is only marginally detectable over the system noise. Furthermore, extended periods of excitation at wavelengths below 500 nm have the potential to induce phototoxic effects that can mask or alter the biological events under observation. Recent success in expanding the fluorescent protein color palette offers the opportunity to explore new FRET partners that may be suitable for use in advanced biosensors.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the 15 years that have passed since the cloning of Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (avGFP), the expanding set of fluorescent protein (FP) variants has become entrenched as an indispensable toolkit for cell biology research. One of the latest additions to the toolkit is monomeric teal FP (mTFP1), a bright and photostable FP derived from Clavularia cyan FP. To gain insight into the molecular basis for the blue-shifted fluorescence emission we undertook a mutagenesis-based study of residues in the immediate environment of the chromophore. We also employed site-directed and random mutagenesis in combination with library screening to create new hues of mTFP1-derived variants with wavelength-shifted excitation and emission spectra.
Our results demonstrate that the protein-chromophore interactions responsible for blue-shifting the absorbance and emission maxima of mTFP1 operate independently of the chromophore structure. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the Tyr67Trp and Tyr67His mutants of mTFP1 retain a blue-shifted fluorescence emission relative to their avGFP counterparts (that is, Tyr66Trp and Tyr66His). Based on previous work with close homologs, His197 and His163 are likely to be the residues with the greatest contribution towards blue-shifting the fluorescence emission. Indeed we have identified the substitutions His163Met and Thr73Ala that abolish or disrupt the interactions of these residues with the chromophore. The mTFP1-Thr73Ala/His163Met double mutant has an emission peak that is 23 nm red-shifted from that of mTFP1 itself. Directed evolution of this double mutant resulted in the development of mWasabi, a new green fluorescing protein that offers certain advantages over enhanced avGFP (EGFP). To assess the usefulness of mTFP1 and mWasabi in live cell imaging applications, we constructed and imaged more than 20 different fusion proteins.
Based on the results of our mutagenesis study, we conclude that the two histidine residues in close proximity to the chromophore are approximately equal determinants of the blue-shifted fluorescence emission of mTFP1. With respect to live cell imaging applications, the mTFP1-derived mWasabi should be particularly useful in two-color imaging in conjunction with a Sapphire-type variant or as a fluorescence resonance energy transfer acceptor with a blue FP donor. In all fusions attempted, both mTFP1 and mWasabi give patterns of fluorescent localization indistinguishable from that of well-established avGFP variants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate determination of the relative positions of proteins within localized regions of the cell is essential for understanding their biological function. Although fluorescent fusion proteins are targeted with molecular precision, the position of these genetically expressed reporters is usually known only to the resolution of conventional optics ( approximately 200 nm). Here, we report the use of two-color photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) to determine the ultrastructural relationship between different proteins fused to spectrally distinct photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs). The nonperturbative incorporation of these endogenous tags facilitates an imaging resolution in whole, fixed cells of approximately 20-30 nm at acquisition times of 5-30 min. We apply the technique to image different pairs of proteins assembled in adhesion complexes, the central attachment points between the cytoskeleton and the substrate in migrating cells. For several pairs, we find that proteins that seem colocalized when viewed by conventional optics are resolved as distinct interlocking nano-aggregates when imaged via PALM. The simplicity, minimal invasiveness, resolution, and speed of the technique all suggest its potential to directly visualize molecular interactions within cellular structures at the nanometer scale.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2008 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances in fluorescent protein development over the past 10 years have led to fine-tuning of the Aequorea victoria jellyfish color palette in the emission color range from blue to yellow, while a significant amount of progress has been achieved with reef coral species in the generation of monomeric fluorescent proteins emitting in the orange to far-red spectral regions. It is not inconceivable that near-infrared fluorescent proteins loom on the horizon. Expansion of the fluorescent protein family to include optical highlighters and FRET biosensors further arms this ubiquitous class of fluorophores with biological probes capable of photoactivation, photoconversion, and detection of molecular interactions beyond the resolution limits of optical microscopy. The success of these endeavors certainly suggests that almost any biological parameter can be investigated using the appropriate fluorescent protein-based application.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · Current protocols in cell biology / editorial board, Juan S. Bonifacino ... [et al.]
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously discovered a large titin-like protein-c-titin-in chicken epithelial brush border and human blood platelet extracts that binds alpha-actinin and organizes arrays of myosin II bipolar filaments in vitro. RT-PCR analysis of total RNA from human megakaryoblastic (CHRF-288-11) and mouse fibroblast (3T3) nonmuscle cells reveal sequences identical to known titin gene exon sequences that encode parts of the Z-line, I-band, PEVK domain, A-band, and M-line regions of striated muscle titins. In the nonmuscle cells, these sequences are differentially spliced in patterns not reported for any striated muscle titin isoform. Rabbit polyclonal antibodies raised against expressed protein fragments encoded by the Z-repeat and kinase domain regions react with the c-titin band in Western blot analysis of platelet extracts and immunoprecipitate c-titin in whole platelet extracts. Immunofluorescent localization demonstrates that the majority of the c-titin colocalizes with alpha-actinin and actin in 3T3 and Indian Muntjac deer skin fibroblast stress fibers. Our results suggest that differential expression of titin gene exons in nonmuscle cells yields multiple novel isoforms of the protein c-titin that are associated with the actin stress fiber structures.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary considerations in imaging living cells in the microscope with a digital camera are detector sensitivity (signal-to-noise), the required speed of image acquisition, and specimen viability. The relatively high light intensities and long exposure times that are typically employed in recording images of fixed cells and tissues (where photobleaching is the major consideration) must be strictly avoided when working with living cells. In virtually all cases, live-cell microscopy represents a compromise between achieving the best possible image quality and preserving the health of the cells. Rather than unnecessarily oversampling time points and exposing the cells to excessive levels of illumination, the spatial and temporal resolutions set by the experiment should be limited to match the goals of the investigation. This chapter describes the fundamentals of digital image acquisition, spatial resolution, contrast, brightness, bit depth, dynamic range, and CCD architecture, as well as performance measures, image display and storage, and imaging modes in optical microscopy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We introduce a method for optically imaging intracellular proteins at nanometer spatial resolution. Numerous sparse subsets
of photoactivatable fluorescent protein molecules were activated, localized (to ∼2 to 25 nanometers), and then bleached. The
aggregate position information from all subsets was then assembled into a superresolution image. We used this method—termed
photoactivated localization microscopy—to image specific target proteins in thin sections of lysosomes and mitochondria; in
fixed whole cells, we imaged vinculin at focal adhesions, actin within a lamellipodium, and the distribution of the retroviral
protein Gag at the plasma membrane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the explosive growth of the Internet (in terms of the World Wide Web) as an informational resource for the original scientific literature pertaining to fluorescent protein investigations, there remains an obvious void in educational Websites targeted at beginning students and novices in the field. To address this issue, educational sites dedicated to optical microscopy and digital imaging being constructed and hosted at The Florida State University are turning their attention to the increasing application of fluorescent proteins for live-cell imaging studies. The primary focus of this effort is to create new sections of the sites that address the structure and properties of fluorescent proteins as well as optimizing their utility in imaging experiments.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2006 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Culture of A7r5 smooth muscle cells on a polyelectrolyte multilayer film (PEMU) can influence various cell properties, including adhesion, motility, and cytoskeletal organization, that are modulated by the extracellular matrix (ECM) in vivo. ECM contribution to cell behavior on PEMUs was investigated by determining the amount of fibronectin (FN) bound to charged and hydrophobic PEMUs by optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy and immunofluorescence microscopy. FN bound best to poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH)-terminated and Nafion-terminated PEMUs. FN bound poorly to PEMUs terminated with a copolymer of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and 3-[2-(acrylamido)-ethyl dimethylammonio] propane sulfonate (PAA-co-AEDAPS). Cells adhered and spread well on the Nafion-terminated PEMU surfaces. In contrast, cells spread less and migrated more on both FN-coated and uncoated PAH-terminated PEMU surfaces. Both cells and FN interacted much better with Nafion than with PAA-co-PAEDAPS in a micropatterned PEMU. These results indicate that A7r5 cell adhesion, spreading, and motility on PEMUs can be independent of FN binding to the surfaces.
No preview · Article · Nov 2005 · Biomacromolecules
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Actin-myosin II filament-based contractile structures in striated muscle, smooth muscle, and nonmuscle cells also contain the actin filament-crosslinking protein alpha-actinin. In striated muscle sarcomeres, interactions between the myosin-binding protein titin and alpha-actinin in the Z-line provide an important structural linkage. We previously discovered a titin-like protein, smitin, associated with the contractile apparatus of smooth muscle cells. Purified native smooth muscle alpha-actinin binds with nanomolar affinity to smitin in smitin-myosin coassemblies in vitro. Smooth muscle alpha-actinin also interacts with striated muscle titin. In contrast to striated muscle alpha-actinin interaction with titin and smitin, which is significantly enhanced by PIP2, smooth muscle alpha-actinin interacts with smitin and titin equally well in the presence and absence of PIP2. Using expressed regions of smooth muscle alpha-actinin, we have demonstrated smitin-binding sites in the smooth muscle alpha-actinin R2-R3 spectrin-like repeat rod domain and a C-terminal domain formed by cryptic EF-hand structures. These smitin-binding sites are highly homologous to the titin-binding sites of striated muscle alpha-actinin. Our results suggest that direct interaction between alpha-actinin and titin or titin-like proteins is a common feature of actin-myosin II contractile structures in striated muscle and smooth muscle cells and that the molecular bases for alpha-actinin interaction with these proteins are similar, although regulation of these interactions may differ according to tissue.
No preview · Article · Aug 2005 · The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyelectrolyte multilayer films were employed to support attachment of cultured rat aortic smooth muscle A7r5 cells. Like smooth muscle cells in vivo, cultured A7r5 cells are capable of converting between a nonmotile "contractile" phenotype and a motile "synthetic" phenotype. Polyelectrolyte films were designed to examine the effect of surface charge and hydrophobicity on cell adhesion, morphology, and motility. The hydrophobic nature and surface charge of different polyelectrolyte films significantly affected A7r5 cell attachment and spreading. In general, hydrophobic polyelectrolyte film surfaces, regardless of formal charge, were found to be more cytophilic than hydrophilic surfaces. On the most hydrophobic surfaces, the A7r5 cells adhered, spread, and exhibited little indication of motility, whereas on the most hydrophilic surfaces, the cells adhered poorly if at all and when present on the surface displayed characteristics of being highly motile. The two surfaces that minimized cell adhesion consisted of two varieties of a diblock copolymer containing hydrophilic poly(ethylene oxide) and a copolymer bearing a zwitterionic group AEDAPS, (3-[2-(acrylamido)-ethyldimethyl ammonio] propane sulfonate). Increasing the proportion of AEDAPS in the copolymer decreased the adhesion of cells to the surface. Cells presented with micropatterns of cytophilic and cytophobic surfaces generated by polymer-on-polymer stamping displayed a surface-dependent cytoskeletal organization and a dramatic preference for adhesion to, and spreading on, the cytophilic surface, demonstrating the utility of polyelectrolyte films in manipulating smooth muscle cell adhesion and behavior.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2005 · Biomacromolecules