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Nature methods

Immunofluorescence and fluorescent-protein tagging show high correlation for protein localization in mammalian cells.


PMID 23435261

Abstract

Imaging techniques such as immunofluorescence (IF) and the expression of fluorescent protein (FP) fusions are widely used to investigate the subcellular distribution of proteins. Here we report a systematic analysis of >500 human proteins comparing the localizations obtained in live versus fixed cells using FPs and IF, respectively. We identify systematic discrepancies between IF and FPs as well as between FP tagging at the N and C termini. The analysis shows that for 80% of the proteins, IF and FPs yield the same subcellular distribution, and the locations of 250 previously unlocalized proteins were determined by the overlap between the two methods. Approximately 60% of proteins localize to multiple organelles for both methods, indicating a complex subcellular protein organization. These results show that both IF and FP tagging are reliable techniques and demonstrate the usefulness of an integrative approach for a complete investigation of the subcellular human proteome.

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