Label-Free Imaging of Single Proteins Secreted from Living Cells via ISCAT Microscopy
André Gemeinhardt, Matthew Paul McDonald, Katharina König, Michael Aigner, Andreas Mackensen, Vahid Sandoghdar
Journal of Visualized Experiments
We demonstrate interferometric scattering (iSCAT) microscopy, a method capable of detecting single unlabeled proteins secreted from individual living cells in real time. In this protocol, we cover the fundamental steps to realize an iSCAT microscope and complement it with additional imaging channels to monitor the viability of a cell under study. Following this, we use the method for real-time detection of single proteins as they are secreted from a living cell which we demonstrate with an immortalized B-cell line (Laz388). Necessary steps concerning the preparation of microscope and sample as well as the analysis of the recorded data are discussed. The video protocol demonstrates that iSCAT microscopy offers a straightforward method to study secretion at the single-molecule level.
Visualizing single-cell secretion dynamics with single protein sensitivity
Matthew Paul McDonald, André Gemeinhardt, Katharina König, Marek Piliarik, Stefanie Schaffer, Simon Völkl, Andreas Mackensen, Vahid Sandoghdar
Cellular secretion of proteins into the extracellular environment is an essential mediator of critical biological mechanisms, including cell-to-cell communication, immunological response, targeted delivery, and differentiation. Here, we report a novel methodology that allows for the real-time detection and imaging of single unlabeled proteins that are secreted from individual living cells. This is accomplished via interferometric detection of scattered light (iSCAT) and is demonstrated with Laz388 cells, an Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B cell line. We find that single Laz388 cells actively secrete IgG antibodies at a rate of the order of 100 molecules per second. Intriguingly, we also find that other proteins and particles spanning ca. 100 kDa-1 MDa are secreted from the Laz388 cells in tandem with IgG antibody release, likely arising from EBV-related viral proteins. The technique is general and, as we show, can also be applied to studying the lysate of a single cell. Our results establish label-free iSCAT imaging as a powerful tool for studying the real-time exchange between cells and their immediate environment with single-protein sensitivity.
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