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.

 

Know your RRid!

Imagine starting a study about some cool protein.

You find some useful articles on Google Scholar. In one paper, an antibody is mentioned. The name of the company that sold it to the authors is mentioned in the Material and Method but unfortunately that company has closed down or has been swallowed by one of the Pharma giants so you cannot order. Then you realize that the company was not producing any antibodies anyway, they were buying it from another company so there is no way to trace and buy the same antibody. Nightmare…

Then imagine that instead, the paper mentions the RRid number for that antibody. You do not know about what that is but you check and find this paper that explains it all.

Now suddenly, not only you can find on the Scicrunch website which company produces this antibody and which resells it so you can buy it, but you can also search pubmed for the RRid and find all the articles that mention it, opening your eyes to lots of results about your protein that have been published specifically with using that antibody. Now you can also check if the antibody gives consistent results!

And imagine being to do this for your favorite mouse model as well. See all publications that have mentioned your mouse RRId!

But it relies on you writing the RRid of your antibody or mouse in your next publication so think about it! 😀

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.

Apply now to the LCI microscopy course 2020 :)

It is now time to register to the LCI intensive microscopy course (Jan/Feb 2020). Check out the course schedule.

Loads of fun workshops, informative lectures, intense discussions and our popular Student Imaging Challenge workshop where students get direct feedback on how to improve their own sample preparation/experimental design.

We always run two courses in parallel:

  • the full course (#2870, 6 points, apply here) where students attend all activities
  • the theory only course (#2871, 4.5 points, apply here) for students who only attend the lectures

As usual, all lectures are public and broadcasted live so you are welcome to just show up (how to find us) or watch remotely (how to connect) without registration.  Check the program as it may be updated in case of (unlikely) last minute changes.

We welcome your feedback about the quality of the webinar and the content of the lectures.

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.

 

Deep red fluorescent proteins

The microscopy field is moving away from blue dyes. This is because red light, used to excited far red and deep red fluorophores, is less damaging to live cells than near UV light which is used to excite blue fluorophores.

On top of that, red light penetrates deeper into thick samples.

So as the trend in microscopy is to move to thicker samples and use more live samples, far red and deep red fluorophores are becoming more attractive.

Here is an article describing 3 new fluorescent protein in the far red to deep red range. One can excite them with 640 nm or a 685 nm lasers or LEDs.