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Molecular vision

A novel protocol of whole mount electro-immunofluorescence staining.


PMID 19262742

Abstract

To develop a new method of whole mount immunostaining that improves the penetration of staining reagents into the cornea and decreases non-specific binding and background. Adult mouse corneas were fixed overnight in 4% paraformaldehyde or a mixture of 4% paraformaldehyde and 0.2% glutaraldehyde in 0.1 M phosphate buffer, pH 7.4, at 4 degrees C. After washing with 0.1% Triton X-100, corneas were embedded in 1% solidified agarose in a plastic column and fluorescent staining reagents, e.g., FITC-IgG (Fluorescein isothiocyanate-immunoglobulinG) conjugates in 0.5% solidified agarose was overlaid onto the specimens. The column was directionally immersed in a submarine gel electrophoresis apparatus filled with Tris-glycine buffer (TGB, pH=7.4) and electrophoresed at 4-10 mA for 10-24 h. For comparison, conventional protocols of immune fluorescent staining were also employed. The outcomes were evaluated by confocal microscopy. Antibody conjugates recognizing extracellular matrix (ECM) components, integral membrane protein, and intracellular structural proteins were used in whole mount corneas. The images of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) displayed a uniform distribution pattern of keratocan in corneal stroma, which is similar to that of section-staining. Anti-beta-tubulin antibodies bound to microtubes that are distributed within the whole cell body of superficial corneal epithelium cells and stromal keratocytes, but it was found perinuclear of corneal epithelial wing layers and endothelium; integral membrane protein, FAK (focal adhesion kinase), specifically labeled stromal cells of keratectomy corneas that healed for three weeks. In comparison, conventional protocols of immune fluorescent staining using the same antibody conjugates were also employed but did not yield satisfactory results. It was found that IgG conjugates examined did not readily penetrate into stroma and/or intact corneal epithelium. Phalloidin is a small molecule that can readily penetrate into deep tissue and preferentially binds to F-actin. After the whole mount electrofluorescent staining of phalloidin-rhodamine in the mouse cornea, the results were the same as conventional whole mount staining during the healing of epithelial debridement. The cytoplasmic protrusion formed by lamellipodia and filopodia can be clearly demonstrated. These results indicate that the whole mount electro-immunofluorescent staining allows the detection of antigens in all layers of cornea, i.e., epithelium, stroma, and endothelium.

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