Identifying Targets of Human microRNAs with the LightSwitch Luciferase Assay System using 3'UTR-reporter Constructs and a microRNA Mimic in Adherent Cells
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of gene expression and have been shown to play a role in numerous biological processes. To better understand miRNA-UTR interactions, we have created a genome-wide collection of 3 UTR luciferase reporters paired with a novel luciferase gene and assay reagent, the LightSwitch system.
Monitoring Cell-autonomous Circadian Clock Rhythms of Gene Expression Using Luciferase Bioluminescence Reporters
Circadian clocks function within individual cells, i.e., they are cell-autonomous. Here, we describe methods for generating cell-autonomous clock models using non-invasive, luciferase-based real-time bioluminescence technology. Reporter cells provide tractable, functional model systems for studying circadian biology.
This article describes GFP-based fluorescence in vivo assays that separately quantify homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining in mammalian cells.
Microbial biofilms are generally constituted by distinct subpopulations of specialized cells. Single-cell analysis of these subpopulations requires the use of fluorescent reporters. Here we describe a protocol to visualize and monitor several subpopulationswithin B. subtilis biofilms using fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry.
1BioSciences Division, Guild Associates, Inc., 2Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin, 3Department of Craniofacial Biology, Medical University of South Carolina
A simple method for the identification of priority bacterial pathogens is to use genetically engineered reporter phage. These reporter phage, which are specific to their particular host species, are capable of rapidly transducing a bioluminescent signal response to host cells. Herein, we describe the use of reporter phage for the detection of Yersinia pestis.
In this protocol we describe production, purification and titration of lentiviral vectors. We provide an example of lentiviral vector-mediated gene delivery in primary cultured neurons and astrocytes. Our methods may also apply to other cell types in vitro and in vivo.
With the growing interest in stem cell therapies, molecular imaging techniques are ideal for monitoring stem cell behavior after transplantation. Luciferase reporter genes have enabled non-invasive, repetitive assessment of cell survival, location, and proliferation in vivo. This video will demonstrate how to track hESC proliferation in a living mouse.
Oct4GiP Reporter Assay to Study Genes that Regulate Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Maintenance and Self-renewal
We describe a fluorescence reporter assay to quickly identify and characterize genes that regulate mouse embryonic stem cell maintenance and self-renewal.
Quantitative Comparison of cis-Regulatory Element (CRE) Activities in Transgenic Drosophila melanogaster
Phenotypic variation for traits can result from mutations in cis-regulatory element (CRE) sequences that control gene expression patterns. Methods derived for use in Drosophila melanogaster can quantitatively compare the levels of spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression mediated by modified or naturally occurring CRE variants.
A Parasite Rescue and Transformation Assay for Antileishmanial Screening Against Intracellular Leishmania donovani Amastigotes in THP1 Human Acute Monocytic Leukemia Cell Line
A parasite-rescue and transformation assay with THP1 cells infected in vitro with Leishmania donovani has been optimized for anti-leishmanial drug screening. The assay involves differentiation of THP1 cells, infection with promastigotes, treatment with test drugs, controlled lysis of the infected macrophages, rescue of amastigotes, transformation to promastigotes and monitoring promastigote growth and proliferation with a fluorometric assay.
We describe a novel red fluorescent protein (RFP) reporter that is expressed specifically in the Drosophila eye. We detail a methodology for dissection of the eye imaginal disc and how this reporter can be used to aid in the dissection and identification of specific cell types in the developing eye.
To understand a link between the immune response and behavior, we describe a method to measure locomotor behavior in Drosophila during bacterial infection as well as the ability of flies to mount an immune response by monitoring survival, bacterial load, and real-time activity of a key regulator of innate immunity, NFκB.
A non-invasive means to evaluate the success of myoblast transplantation is described. The method takes advantage of a unified fusion reporter gene composed of genes whose expression can be imaged with different imaging modalities. Here, we make use of a fluc reporter gene sequence to target cells via bioluminescence imaging.
Monitoring of Ubiquitin-proteasome Activity in Living Cells Using a Degron (dgn)-destabilized Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-based Reporter Protein
A method to monitor ubiquitin-proteasome activity in living cells is described. A degron-destabilized GFP- (GFP-dgn) and a stable GFP-dgnFS fusion protein are generated and transduced into the cell using a lentiviral expression vector. This technique allows to generate a stable GFP-dgn/GFP-dgnFS expressing cell line in which ubiquitin-proteasome activity can be easily assessed using epifluorescence or flow cytometry.
Single-molecule Imaging of Gene Regulation In vivo Using Cotranslational Activation by Cleavage (CoTrAC)
1Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3Department of Physics, Jilin University
We describe a fluorescence microscopy method, Co-Translational Activation by Cleavage (CoTrAC), to image the production of protein molecules in live cells with single-molecule precision without perturbing the protein's functionality. This method has been used to follow the stochastic expression dynamics of a transcription factor, the λ repressor CI 1.
1Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, 2Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 3Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Emerson College, 4Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Division of Health Science and Technology, Harvard
This procedure describes a method for the isolation and culture of the murine organ of Corti with or without the spiral limbus and spiral ganglion neurons. We also demonstrate a method for the expression of an exogenous reporter gene in the organ of Corti explant by electroporation.
1Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, 2Molecular Neurobiology Program, Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 3Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, 4Department of Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, 5Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, 6Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, 7Center for Neural Science, New York University School of Medicine
The protocol describes an efficient and reproducible model system to study herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency and reactivation. The assay employs homogenous sympathetic neuron cultures and allows for the molecular dissection of virus-neuron interactions using a variety of tools including RNA interference and expression of recombinant proteins.
The surgical procedure for delivery of embryonic stem cell-derived endothelial cells to the ischemic hindlimb is demonstrated, with non-invasive tracking by bioluminescence imaging.
Methods for bioluminescence imaging of bacterial infections in living animals are decribed. Pathogens are modified to express luciferase allowing optical whole body imaging of infections in live animals. Animal models can be infected with luciferase expressing pathogens and the resulting course of disease visualized in real-time by bioluminescence imaging.
We have developed a cell fusion assay that quantifies SNARE-mediated membrane fusion events by activated expression of β-galactosidase.
Herein we describe the methods to construct, visualize, and quantify the bioluminescent reactions of both firefly and renilla luciferase enzymes expressed in metastatic breast cancer cells during their growth and metastasis in vivo.
A robust approach to monitor the delivery of organelles to the acidic lumen of the yeast vacuole for degradation and recycling is described. The method relies on the specific labeling of target organelles with a genetically encoded dual-emission fluorescence pH-biosensor, and visualization of individual cells using fluorescence microscopy.
The overall goal of this video is to show how to perform targeted retinal injection and in ovo electroporation of DNA/RNA constructs into the chick embryonic retina at the Hamburger and Hamilton stage 22-23, which is about embryonic day 4 (E4). This technique is very useful to study gene expression, gene regulation, and morphological change in developing chick retina.
Development, Expansion, and In vivo Monitoring of Human NK Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) and and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)
This protocol describes the development, expansion, and in vivo imaging of NK cells derived from hESCs and iPSCs.
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.
Mosaic Analysis of Gene Function in Postnatal Mouse Brain Development by Using Virus-based Cre Recombination
1Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California, 3Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
An in vivo method to test gene function in postnatal brain is described. Recombinant AAVs expressing Cre and/or a fluorescent protein are injected into neonatal mouse brain. Mosaic gene inactivation and sparse neuronal labeling are achieved, allowing rapid analysis of gene function in processes critical to neural circuit development.
We describe a protocol using C. elegans and RNAi feeding libraries that allows automated measurement of multiple parameters such as fluorescence, size and opacity of individual worms in a population. We give one example of a screen to identify genes involved in anti-fungal innate immunity in C. elegans.
Intraductal Injection of LPS as a Mouse Model of Mastitis: Signaling Visualized via an NF-κB Reporter Transgenic
1Cancer Biology Department, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy
Described here is a technique in which lipopolysaccharide is injected into the lactating mouse mammary gland via the nipple to simulate mastitis, a condition commonly caused by bacterial infection. Lipopolysaccharide injection results in increased nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling, visualized through bioluminescent imaging of an NF-κB luciferase reporter mouse.
A Practical Approach to Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping: A Visual Guide to Mark and Track Cells In Vivo
Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping (GIFM) marks and tracks cells with fine spatial and temporal control in vivo and elucidates how cells from a specific genetic lineage contribute to developing and adult tissues. Demonstrated here are the techniques required to fate map E12.5 mouse embryos for epifluorescent and explant analysis.
FRET-based reporters are increasingly used to monitor kinase and phosphatase activities in live cells. Here we describe a method on how to use FRET-based reporters to assess cell cycle-dependent changes in target phosphorylation.
1Bernard and Shirlee Brown Glaucoma Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University, 2Institute of Human Nutrition, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, 3Omics Laboratory, University of Iowa, 4Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa
This surgical technique illustrates the injection of gene therapy vectors and stem cells into the subretinal space of the mouse eye.
1Program in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 2Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Baylor College of Medicine, 3Department of Immunology and Pathology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 4Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, 5Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 6Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, 7Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, 8Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
We describe a method to genetically modify primary human T cells with a transgene using the non-viral piggyBac transposon system. T cells modified to using the piggyBac transposon system exhibit stable transgene expression.
Methods for using alphavirus transducing systems to express fluorescent reporters in vitro and in adult mosquitoes are described. This technique may be adapted to express any protein of interest in lieu of or in addition to a reporter.
Despite recent advancements in genetic modification, transfection of human embryonic stem cells (HESCs) remains a capricious process. To our knowledge, systematic and efficient methods to transfect human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have not been reported. Here, we describe robust protocols to efficiently transfect and nucleofect human iPSCs.
1Institute for Cell Engineering Neuroregeneration and Stem Cell Programs, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
In utero survival surgery in mice permits the molecular manipulation of gene expression during development. Here we describe the use of high-frequency ultrasound imaging to guide the injection of retroviral vectors into the mouse brain at embryonic day (E) 9.5.
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.
To make lentiviruses, DNA vectors are transfected into human 293 cells. After harvest and concentrating the supernatant, virus titer is determined by fluorescence expression with a flow cytometer.
An efficient procedure to assess the oligomerization propensity of single-pass transmembrane domains (TMDs) is described. Chimeric proteins consisting of the TMD fused to ToxR are expressed in an E. coli reporter strain. TMD-induced oligomerization causes dimerization of ToxR, activation of transcription and production of the reporter protein, -galactosidase.
1Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 2Precisionary Instruments Inc., 3Departments of Molecular & Human Genetics and Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 4Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital
Here we describe a rapid and simple method to image fluorescently labeled cells in semi-thick brain slices. By fixing, slicing, and optically clearing brain tissue we describe how standard epifluorescent or confocal imaging can be used to visualize individual cells and neuronal networks within intact nervous tissue.
Gene function can be obscured in loss-of-function experiments if there is compensation by another gene. The zebrafish model provides a relatively high-throughput means to reveal such functional redundancy in living embryos.
Split-Ubiquitin Based Membrane Yeast Two-Hybrid (MYTH) System: A Powerful Tool For Identifying Protein-Protein Interactions
1Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, 2Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 3Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR), University of Toronto
MYTH allows the sensitive detection of transient and stable interactions between proteins that are expressed in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It has been successfully applied to study exogenous and yeast integral membrane proteins in order to identify their interacting partners in a high throughput manner.
A procedure for liquid-based culturing and dispensing of C. elegans strains expressing fluorescent reporter proteins is described that does not require expensive sorting equipment. This approach can be applied to numerous inducible C. elegans genes for drug discovery or biosensing of contaminants.
Here we develop the tools necessary for ex vivo live imaging to trace single cell divisions in the mouse E8.5 neuroepithelium
Imaging Analysis of Neuron to Glia Interaction in Microfluidic Culture Platform (MCP)-based Neuronal Axon and Glia Co-culture System
This study describes the procedures of setting up a novel neuronal axon and (astro)glia co-culture platform. In this co-culture system, manipulation of direct interaction between a single axon (and single glial cell) becomes feasible, allowing mechanistic analysis of the mutual neuron to glial signaling.
Here, we describe procedures for studying changes in phagocytosis-induced gene expression with a luciferase-based reporter gene approach using the Dual-GloTM Luciferase Assay System from Promega.
An Optimized Procedure for Fluorescence-activated Cell Sorting (FACS) Isolation of Autonomic Neural Progenitors from Visceral Organs of Fetal Mice
An optimized procedure to purify neural crest-derived neuronal progenitors from fetal mouse tissues is described. This method takes advantage of expression from fluorescent reporter alleles to isolate discrete populations by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The technique can be applied to isolate neuronal subpopulations throughout development or from adult tissues.
1Unit on Neural Circuits and Adaptive Behaviors, Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, National Institute of Mental Health, 2Department of Neuroscience, Brown University - National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program, 3Section on Synaptic Pharmacology, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 4Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown
Experience-dependent molecular changes in neurons are essential for the brain's ability to adapt in response to behavioral challenges. An in vivo two-photon imaging method is described here that allows the tracking of such molecular changes in individual cortical neurons through genetically encoded reporters.
Many plant tissues, including phloem and xylem from loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), contain high levels of phenolics and polysaccharides that interfere with RNA purification. This presentation discusses techniques for the harvest of field-grown tissues and isolation of RNA of sufficient quality for microarrays and other genomic analyses.
Specific Marking of HIV-1 Positive Cells using a Rev-dependent Lentiviral Vector Expressing the Green Fluorescent Protein
We have developed a lentiviral vector that possesses, in addition to the Tat-responsive LTR, the Rev-response element (RRE) that can regulate reporter gene expression in an HIV-1 Tat- and Rev-dependent fashion. The vector permits the specific detection of replicating HIV in living cells via the expression of GFP.
Slice Preparation, Organotypic Tissue Culturing and Luciferase Recording of Clock Gene Activity in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
The procedure of preparing slices containing the adult mouse hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), and a rapid way to culture the SCN tissue in organotypic culture condition, are reported. Further, the measurement of oscillatory clock gene protein expression using dynamic luciferase reporter technology is described.