The antibody validation nightmare

Ever wondered if that antibody you used throughout your whole PhD was actually also binding to something else than its supposed target protein?

Antibody validation in tissue staining is a very difficult task!

Here is a great step-by-step validation protocol published by EuroMabNet, a network of scientists who try to improve antibody validation.

And this paper gives a useful flow chart for antibody validation.

And here is the 5 pillars of antibody validation paper which explains what can be done to validate antibodies.

 

Transfecting hard-to-transfect cells

Here you can see a nice film of a beating cardiomyocyte.

It was transfected using Fuse-it vesicles full of the mRNA of LifeAct-tagGFP2. According to Ibidi, it also work well with primary cells which are typically difficult to transfect.

RNA-based transfection seems to be gaining speed compared to classical transfections using DNA.

If you try it, leave some comments here to tell us how it worked for you! 🙂

Fluorophores that blink for STORM without any special buffer

Sounds good! No more buffer that stops working after one hour of imaging!

This company sells SaraFluor650 secondary antibodies. This fluorophore seems to be a natural blinker which does not need to reducing environment. Apparently it doesn’t need very bright lasers either!

Apparently they have also developed a green variant. So you can run 2-colour direct STORM on your favorite TIRF system! 😀

They also sell pH sensors and more so check their website and if you try, write a comment to let us know how things worked!

Multiplexed immunostaining

It is not easy to find enough antibodies that work together to be able to label a sample with more than 4 antibodies at the same time. And even 4 is pushing it.

This paper describes a new immunostaining multiplexing method called 4i. The method is based on a special imaging buffer that prevents the antibody from being strongly bound to the sample due to the imaging process. This allows the authors to detach the antibody with gentle treatments, leaving the sample in a good shape and ready for another round of labeling and imaging.

Using this method they have successfully labelled the same sample with 40 different primary/secondary of the shelf antibody pairs!

Seminar on how to directly label your primary antibodies: Skip the secondary, part 3!

The LCI will host a seminar about GlyCLICK, a new way to directly label primary antibodies and stop using secondaries: 6th of November at 13:00 in the Lipid seminar room in Neo, KI Flemingsberg. The seminar will be broadcasted live. Here is how to find us and here how to follow the seminar online.

Everyone agrees that it would be great to be able to label our samples without using secondary antibodies.

  • less animals killed
  • shorter and cheaper protocols
  • no problem with isotype cross-reaction
  • no problem with secondary species when using many antibodies at once

There are many kits to label primary antibodies directly with fluorophores. The main disadvantage compared to primary/secondary stainings is that direct labels are often weaker because the final primary/fluorophore ratio is too low. Using an amplification method like TSA (Tyramide Signal Amplification) leads to a loss of resolution.

Over the years users at the LCI have tried this kit, this kit and this one. They gave mixed results depending on the antibody but we keep looking! Come to the LCI seminar about a new direct labelling technique that uses Click chemistry.

Supplies of Zell Kontakt products

Zell Kontakt is a German company making fantastic glass bottom dishes and plate. Check out why the LCI facility likes their products (absolutely no commercial interests!).

Great products but crap communication skills! Either their website is down or they do not answer the phone and emails and anyway if they do, make sure you have a German colleague around because no one speaks English.

Now we have found a way around the problem: MoBiTec sells Zell Kontakt products. 🙂

If you are at KI and need to find a KI-certified supplier, just come and ask us. 🙂

How to precisely measure the volume of a cell?

Measuring the volume of a cell is often done by labelling the cell membrane or its cytoplasm. Analysing large flat cells this way is easy but it is much harder for tiny cells like blood cells, yeast or bacteria.

Another way to measure volumes is to use a negative stain, i.e. where the medium is made fluorescent with a dye that does not go into the cell. The cell appears as a black hole in fluorescent images and unlike lipid-based membrane labelling, borders are even and easy to segment.

While many dyes can be used for live cells, one must choose large dyes when negatively imaging cells that have been fixed and permeabilized.

This paper and this one use high molecular weight (2000 KDa) Dextran to achieve these results and measure the size of bacteria.

This recent paper optimizes the technique.

 

Free genetic and image analysis tools

Here are a few image analysis tools (constructs for FRET, software…) that might be useful to you.

  • Construct for fluorescence biosensors and optogenetic tools
  • Free Image analysis software

http://www.hahnlab.com/tools/index.html

  • Free Image analysis software

https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/labs/danuser/software/

  • Free Image analysis software

http://cismm.web.unc.edu/

Crest V3 spinning disk confocal demo

Tomorrow (17 sept) we will enjoy a seminar and a live demo about the Crest V3 spinning disk confocal which is being set up at our facility as I write! 😀

Very cool confocal!

  • enormous field of view (32 mm diameter)
  • fully confocal
  • can image at 100 frames per sec
  • spits out Nyquist resolution with the 60x objective!

You can come to the seminar (at 10 in the Gene seminar room at the LCI facility) or listen to it remotely (see here how to follow the LCI webinars).

You can even book a private demo to image your own samples.

Matching the refraction index of live samples

To image a thick sample, it is crucial to match the refraction index of the sample with that of the immersion medium between the sample and the objective. Typically, life samples are in an aqueous solution like culture medium which has a refraction index of 1.33. Unfortunately organoids often have a higher refraction index closer to 1.44 therefore as one images deeper into the organoids, light scatters due to the refraction index mismatch and the images become blurry.

This paper presents a product that has a high RI and is compatible with cell culture. Good to keep in mind for those who image organoids over time.