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1.  Promoter analysis by saturation mutagenesis 
Gene expression and regulation are mediated by DNA sequences, in most instances, directly upstream to the coding sequences by recruiting transcription factors, regulators, and a RNA polymerase in a spatially defined fashion. Few nucleotides within a promoter make contact with the bound proteins. The minimal set of nucleotides that can recruit a protein factor is called a cis-acting element. This article addresses a powerful mutagenesis strategy that can be employed to define cis-acting elements at a molecular level. Technical details including primer design, saturation mutagenesis, construction of promoter libraries, phenotypic analysis, data analysis, and interpretation are discussed.
doi:10.1251/bpo24
PMCID: PMC145547  PMID: 12734578
promoter regions (genetics); mutagenesis; polymerase chain reaction
2.  A fluorescence microscopy method for quantifying levels of prostaglandin endoperoxide H synthase-1 and CD-41 in MEG-01 cells 
In platelets, PGHS-1-dependant formation of thromboxane A2 is an important modulator of platelet function and a target for pharmacological inhibition of platelet function by aspirin. Since platelets are a-nucleated cells, we have used the immortalized human megakaryoblastic cell line MEG-01 which can be induced to differentiate into platelet-like structures upon addition of TPA as a model system to study PGHS-1 gene expression. Using a specific antibody to PGHS-1 we have developed a technique utilizing immunofluorescence microscopy and analysis of multiple digital images to monitor PGHS-1 protein levels as MEG-01 cells were induced to differentiate by a single addition of TPA (1.6 x 10-8 M) over a period of 8 days. The method represents a rapid and economical alternative to flow cytometry. Using this technique we observed that TPA induced adherence of MEG-01 cells, and only the non-adherent TPA-stimulated cells demonstrated compromised viability. The differentiation of MEG-01 cells was evaluated by the expression of the platelet-specific cell surface antigen, CD-41. The latter was expressed in MEG-01 cells at the later stages of differentiation. We demonstrated a good correlation between PGHS-1 levels and the overall level of cellular differentiation of MEG-01 cells. Furthermore, PGHS-1 protein level, which shows a consistent increase over the entire course of differentiation, can be used as an additional and better index by which to monitor megakaryocyte differentiation.
doi:10.1251/bpo23
PMCID: PMC145546  PMID: 12734579
Immunocytochemistry; Fluorescence microscopy; Cell differentiation
3.  Measurement of Cardiac Mechanical Function in Isolated Ventricular Myocytes from Rats and Mice by Computerized Video-Based Imaging 
Isolated adult cardiac ventricular myocytes have been a useful model for cardiovascular research for more than 20 years. With the recent advances in cellular physiology and transgenic techniques, direct measurement of isolated ventricular myocyte mechanics is becoming an increasingly important technique in cardiac physiology that provides fundamental information on excitation-contraction coupling of the heart, either in drug intervention or pathological states. The goal of this article is to describe the isolation of ventricular myocytes from both rats and mice, and the use of real-time beat-to-beat simultaneous recording of both myocyte contraction and intracellular Ca2+ transient.
doi:10.1251/bpo22
PMCID: PMC145545  PMID: 12734580
myocardial contraction; research design; calcium
4.  Acid Glycohydrolases in Rat Spermatocytes, Spermatids and Spermatozoa: Enzyme Activities, Biosynthesis and Immunolocalization 
Mammalian sperm acrosome contains several glycohydrolases thought to aid in the dispersion and digestion of vestments surrounding the egg. In this study, we have used multiple approaches to examine the origin of acrosome-associated glycohdyrdolases. Mixed spermatogenic cells, prepared from rat testis, were separated by unit gravity sedimentation. The purified germ cells (spermatocytes [SP], round spermatids [RS], and elongated/condensed spermatids [E/CS]) contained several glycohydrolase activities. Metabolic labeling in the cell culture, immunoprecipitation, and autoradiographic approaches revealed that β-D-galactosidase was synthesized in SP and RS in 88/90 kDa forms which undergo processing in a cell-specific manner. Immunohistochemical approaches demonstrated that the enzyme was localized in Golgi membranes/vesicles, and lysosome-like structures in SP and RS, and forming/formed acrosome of E/CS.
doi:10.1251/bpo21
PMCID: PMC145544  PMID: 12734581
acrosome; germ cells; fertilization; glycoside hydrolases
5.  Semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis to assess the expression levels of multiple transcripts from the same sample 
We describe a semiquantitative RT-PCR protocol optimized in our laboratory to extract RNA from as little as 10,000 cells and to measure the expression levels of several target mRNAs from each sample. This procedure was optimized on the human erythroleukemia cell line TF-1 but was successfully used on primary cells and on different cell lines. We describe the detailed procedure for the analysis of Bcl-2 levels. Aldolase A was used as an internal control to normalize for sample to sample variations in total RNA amounts and for reaction efficiency. As for all quantitative techniques, great care must be taken in all optimization steps: the necessary controls to ensure a rough quantitative (semi-quantitative) analysis are described here, together with an example from a study on the effects of TGF-β1 in TF-1 cells.
doi:10.1251/bpo20
PMCID: PMC145543  PMID: 12734582
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; RNA, Messenger; gene expression; Genes, bcl-2
6.  Cytochemical techniques and energy-filtering transmission electron microscopy applied to the study of parasitic protozoa  
The study of parasitic protozoa plays a major role in cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Numerous cytochemical techniques have been developed in order to unequivocally identify the nature of subcellular compartments. Enzyme and immuno-cytochemistry allow the detection of, respectively, enzymatic activity products and antigens in particular sites within the cell. Energy-filtering transmission electron microscopy permits the detection of specific elements within such compartments. These approaches are particularly useful for studies employing antimicrobial agents where cellular compartments may be destroyed or remarkably altered and thus hardly identified by standard methods of observation. In this regard cytochemical and spectroscopic techniques provide valuable data allowing the determination of the mechanisms of action of such compounds.
doi:10.1251/bpo19
PMCID: PMC145542  PMID: 12734583
histochemistry; cell compartmentation
7.  A sensitive non-radioactive in situ hybridization method for the detection of chicken IgG γ-chain mRNA: a technique suitable for detecting of variety of mRNAs in tissue sections 
We established a sensitive non-radioactive in situ hybridization (ISH) method for the detection of chicken IgG γ-chain mRNA in paraffin sections. RNA probes were transcribed in vitro from cloned chicken IgG CH1 nucleotide sequences with SP6/T7 RNA polymerases in the presence of DIG-UTP. These probes were used for hybridization and were immunodetected using anti-DIG antibodies conjugated to horseradish peroxidase. The immunoreactive products were visualized with DAB-H2O2. IgG γ-chain mRNA-expressing cells were localized in both the spleen and oviductal tissues. This method demonstrated an excellent sensitivity since the ISH signal was clear and the background was negligible. We found that in the spleen IgG γ-chain mRNA-expressing cells were present mainly in the red pulp, whereas in the oviduct they appeared mainly in the mucosal stroma and not in the mucosal epithelium.
doi:10.1251/bpo18
PMCID: PMC145541  PMID: 12734584
in situ hybridization; IgG; mRNA; chicken

Results 1-7 (7)