Proteins bind to filamentous actin (F-actin) through distinct actin binding modules. In this video we demonstrate the procedure of actin co-sedimentation, which is an in vitro assay routinely used to analyze proteins or specific domains that bind F-actin.
Microscopic imaging of live endothelial cells expressing GFP-actin allows characterization of dynamic changes in cytoskeletal structures. Unlike techniques that use fixed specimens, this method provides a detailed assessment of temporal changes in the actin cytoskeleton in the same cells before, during, and after various physical, pharmacological, or inflammatory stimuli.
Live Cell Response to Mechanical Stimulation Studied by Integrated Optical and Atomic Force Microscopy
1Department of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, College of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Texas A&M Health Science Center, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Texas A&M University
This paper aims to instruct the reader in the operation of an integrated atomic force-optical imaging microscope for mechanical stimulation of live cells in culture. A step-by-step protocol is presented. A representative data set that shows live cell response to mechanical stimulation is presented.
Here are some highlights from the November 2011 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
Key to understanding the morphogenetic processes that shape the early embryo is the ability to image cells at high resolution. We describe here a technique for labeling single cells or small clusters of cells in whole zebrafish embryos with membrane-targeted Green Fluorescent Protein.
A method to visualize and quantify F-actin barbed ends in neuronal growth cones is described. After culturing neurons on glass coverslips, cells are permeabilized with a saponin-containing solution. Then, a short incubation with the saponin buffer containing rhodamine-actin incorporates fluorescent actin onto free actin barbed ends.
A Real-time Electrical Impedance Based Technique to Measure Invasion of Endothelial Cell Monolayer by Cancer Cells
This article describes an in vitro technique for monitoring cancer cells invading through a monolayer of endothelial cells. The data is acquired in real-time as a function of changes in impedance on the surface of electrodes at the well bottom.
Adhesive micropatterns that normalize cellular architecture can be used to increase sensitivity in the detection of drug effects, improve reproducibility and simplify automated image acquisition and analysis. Such technology will benefit drug/siRNA screening assays, performed on conventional cell culture supports and consequently suffering from excessive cell-to-cell variability.
Multicolor Time-lapse Imaging of Transgenic Zebrafish: Visualizing Retinal Stem Cells Activated by Targeted Neuronal Cell Ablation
In this video, techniques for multicolor confocal time-lapse imaging and targeted cell ablation are provided. Time-lapse imaging is used to monitor the behavior of multiple cell types of interest in vivo. Targeted cell ablation facilitates the study neural circuit function and cell-specific neuronal regeneration paradigms.
Models of tumor cell invasion into three-dimensional extracellular matrix better reflect the in vivo situation than two-dimensional motility assays. Using matrix invasion assays combined with confocal imaging of fluorescently-labeled cells, detailed information on invasion modes and the distinct contributions of leading versus following cells can be obtained.
A method for developing cell culture substrates with the ability to change topography during culture is described. The method makes use of smart materials known as shape memory polymers that have the ability to memorize a permanent shape. This concept is adaptable to a wide range of materials and applications.
This protocol describes the production of KLRG1 tetramer, which is a powerful tool for the analysis of KLRG1 ligands.
A standard approach to prepare adult Drosophila eyes for semi-thin sectioning and light microscopic analysis is presented here. The protocol can be used for gross morphological analysis of eye defects, or with the indicated adjustments can be used to determine genetic requirements of genes in specific cell types of the eye (e.g. clonal analysis of photoreceptors) or for electron microscopic analysis.
A protocol for live imaging of GFP-tagged proteins or autofluorescent structures in individual Drosophila oocytes is described.
Selection, microinjection, and imaging of fluorescently-labeled F-actin via fluorescent speckle microscopy (FSM).
Adenovirus-mediated Genetic Removal of Signaling Molecules in Cultured Primary Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts
In this video we use an adenovirus carrying the Cre recombinase gene to infect primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts carrying a floxed Rac1 allele.
RNA polymerase II transcriptional kinetics are measured on specific genes in living cells. mRNAs transcribed from the gene of interest are fluorescently tagged and using Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) the in vivo kinetics of transcriptional elongation are obtained.
In this video, we demonstrate the experimental techniques used to fabricate compliant, extracellular matrix (ECM) coated substrates suitable for cell culture, and which are amenable to traction force microscopy and observing effects of ECM stiffness on cell behavior.
Biophysical Assays to Probe the Mechanical Properties of the Interphase Cell Nucleus: Substrate Strain Application and Microneedle Manipulation
1Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, 2Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology & Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
We present two independent, microscope-based tools to measure the induced nuclear and cytoskeletal deformations in single, living adherent cells in response to global or localized strain application. These techniques are used to determine nuclear stiffness (i.e., deformability) and to probe intracellular force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton.
Drosophila hemocytes disperse over the entirety of the developing embryo. This protocol demonstrates how to mount and image these migrations using embryos with fluorescently labelled hemocytes.
Clathrin-mediated endocytosis depends on adaptor proteins that coordinate cargo selection and clathrin coat assembly. Here we describe procedures to study adaptor-clathrin physical interaction and live cell imaging approaches using as a model the yeast endocytic adaptor protein Sla1p.
A method to measure the persistence length or flexural rigidity of biopolymers is described. The method uses a kinesin-driven microtubule gliding assay to experimentally determine the persistence length of individual microtubules and is adaptable to actin-based gliding assays.
Imaging G-protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR)-mediated Signaling Events that Control Chemotaxis of Dictyostelium Discoideum
Here, we describe detailed live cell imaging methods for investigating chemotaxis. We present fluorescence microscopic methods to monitor spatiotemporal dynamics of signaling events in migrating cells. Measurement of signaling events permits us to further understand how a GPCR-signaling network achieves gradient sensing of chemoattractants and controls directional migration of eukaryotic cells.
Dying cells are extruded from epithelial tissues by concerted contraction of neighboring cells without disrupting barrier function. The optical clarity of developing zebrafish provides an excellent system to visualize extrusion in living epithelia. Here we describe methods to induce and image extrusion in the larval zebrafish epidermis at cellular resolution.
The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for studying cell biology and development. We present a protocol for live imaging of C. elegans embryos utilizing DIC optics or fluorescence using readily available epifluorescent microscopes and open-source software.
Here we describe a quick and simple method to measure cell stiffness. The general principle of this approach is to measure membrane deformation in response to well-defined negative pressure applied through a micropipette to the cell surface. This method provides a powerful tool to study biomechanical properties of substrate-attached cells.
1Department of Pathology, New York University Langone School of Medicine, 2Program in Molecular Pathogenesis, Marty and Helen Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine and Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, 3Laboratory of Molecular Immunogenetics, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 4Veteran Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System
This article describes a method to visualize formation of an HIV-1 envelope-induced virological synapse on glass supported planar bilayers by total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. The method can also be combined with immunofluorescence staining to detect activation and redistribution of signaling molecules that occur during HIV-1 envelope-induced virological synapse formation.
Live Imaging of Cell Motility and Actin Cytoskeleton of Individual Neurons and Neural Crest Cells in Zebrafish Embryos
1Genetics Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2Department of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 4Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This protocol describes imaging of individual neurons or neural crest cells in living zebrafish embryos. This method is used to examine cellular behaviors and actin localization using fluorescence confocal time-lapse microscopy.
A description of the methods used to convert an HP DeskJet 500 printer into a bioprinter. The printer is capable of processing living cells, which causes transient pores in the membrane. These pores can be utilized to incorporate small molecules, including fluorescent G-actin, into the printed cells.
Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) as a Tool to Visualize Microinjected Molecules and their Eukaryotic Sub-cellular Targets
The CLEM technique has been adapted to analyze ultrastructural morphology of membranes, organelles, and subcellular structures affected by microinjected molecules. This method combines the powerful techniques of micromanipulation/microinjection, confocal fluorescent microscopy, and electron microscopy to allow millimeter to multi-nanometer resolution. This technique is amenable to a wide variety of applications.
Here we describe a protocol to examine the migration of glial cells into the developing Drosophila eye using live microscopic analysis paired with GFP tagged glial cells.
We present a novel method for microgavage of larval zebrafish utilizing standard embryo microinjection and stereomicroscopy equipment. We demonstrate that microgavage is a safe and efficient technique useful for delivering controlled amounts of diverse materials specifically into the larval zebrafish intestinal lumen.
An Organotypic Slice Assay for High-Resolution Time-Lapse Imaging of Neuronal Migration in the Postnatal Brain
This protocol describes an organotypic slice assay optimized for the postnatal brain and high-resolution time-lapse imaging of neuroblast migration in the rostral migratory stream.
Application and direct measurements of forces on neurons in the 2-1000 microdyne range are achieved with high precision using calibrated glass needles. This methodology can be used to control and measure several aspects of axonal development, including axonal initiation, axonal tension, velocity of axonal elongation, and force vectors.
Numerous recent studies have identified mutations in synaptic proteins associated with brain pathologies. Primary cultured cortical neurons offer great flexibility in examining the effects of these disease-associated proteins on dendritic spine morphology and motility.
Here, we describe a method for isolation, culture and manipulation of mouse embryonic pancreas. This represents an excellent ex vivo system for studying various aspects of pancreatic development, including morphogenesis, differentiation and growth. Pancreatic bud explants can be cultured for several days and used in a range of different applications, including whole-mount immunofluorescence and live imaging.
Live cell imaging is of particular utility when studying the dynamics of organelle trafficking. Here we describe a protocol for live imaging of dense-core vesicles in cultured neurons using wide-field fluorescence microscopy. This protocol is flexible and can be adapted to image other organelles such as mitochondria, endosomes, and peroxisomes.
Immunohistological Labeling of Microtubules in Sensory Neuron Dendrites, Tracheae, and Muscles in the Drosophila Larva Body Wall
To understand how complex cell shapes, such as neuronal dendrites, are achieved during development, it is important to be able to accurately assay microtubule organization. Here we describe a robust immunohistological labeling method to examine microtubule organization of dendritic arborization neuron sensory dendrites, trachea, muscle, and other Drosophila larva body wall tissues.
1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 2Center for Molecular and Tumor Virology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 3Department of Microbiology and Immunology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 4Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
The phagokinetic motility track assay is a method used to assess the movement of cells. Specifically, the assay measures chemokinesis (random cell motility) over time in a quantitative manner. The assay takes advantage of the ability of cells to create a measurable track of their movement on colloidal gold-coated coverslips.
We describe a qualitative assay to monitor bacterial competition mediated by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type VI secretion system (T6SS). The assay relies on the survival/killing of Escherichia coli target cells carrying a lacZ-reporter. This technique is adjustable to assess the bactericidal/bacteriostasis activity of T6SS-proficient microorganisms.
The method presented here comprises the precise injury of live zebrafish embryos with high-energy laser pulses and the subsequent analysis of these injuries and their recovery with time. We also show how genetically labeled single or groups of skeletal muscle cells can be tracked during and after laser light induced damage.
In situ subcellular fractionation of mammalian cells on microscope coverslips allows the visualisation of protein localisation.
A protocol for separation of embryo facial ectoderm and mesenchyme is described. We use Dispase II to treat whole embryos first, dissect whole facial prominences out, and then separate the facial ectoderm and mesenchyme.
This article describes a method by which one can mimic in vivo development of the Drosophila mushroom body in an ex vivo culture system.
Immunocytochemistry is a powerful method to determine the presence, subcellular localization, and relative abundance of an antigen of interest in cultured cells. This protocol presents an easy-to-follow series of steps that will enable one to conserve antibodies and get the most out of one's staining.
Early development of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is characterized by a number of cell shape changes that are well suited for imaging approaches. This article will describe basic tools and methods required for live confocal imaging of Drosophila embryos, and will focus on a cell shape change called cellularization.
A modified 3-D in vitro system is presented in which growth characteristics of several tumor cell lines in reconstituted basement membrane correlate with the dormant or proliferative behavior of the tumor cells at a metastatic secondary site in vivo.
Murine Spinotrapezius Model to Assess the Impact of Arteriolar Ligation on Microvascular Function and Remodeling
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, 3Office of Animal Welfare, University of Virginia, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering & Institute for Computational Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
We demonstrate a novel arterial ligation model in murine spinotrapezius muscle, including a step-by-step procedure and description of required instrumentation. We describe the surgery and relevant outcome measurements relating to vascular network remodeling and functional vasodilation using intravital and confocal microscopy.
We describe a Flippase-induced intersectional Gal80/Gal4 repression (FINGR) method, allowing tissue-specific FLP to determine Gal80 expression patterns. Wherever Gal4 and FLP overlap, Gal4 expression is turned on (Gal80 flipped out) or off (Gal80 flipped in). The FINGR method is versatile for clonal analysis and neural circuit mapping.