Note: This protocol is intended for use with the specific products mentioned within it. Substituting different products is not recommended.

Staining using a fluorophore-conjugated antibody

Materials

Tris buffered saline (TBS) (50 mM Tris, 150 mM NaCl, pH 7.4) or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) (137 mM NaCl, 2.7 mM KCl, 10 mM Na2HPO4, 1.76 mM KH2PO4, pH 7.4) (NOTE: for maximum signal intensity, we recommend using TBS with Invitrogen™ eFluor™ Nanocrystals)

  • Fixation reagent: 100% methanol
  • Blocking reagent: IHC/ICC blocking buffer-low protein (cat. No. 00-4953)
    • Note: for nuclear staining using eFluor Nanocrystals, IHC/ICC Blocking Buffer- High Protein (cat. no. 00-4952) must be used.
  • Primary antibody: fluorophore-conjugated format
  • Nuclear counterstain: DAPI or DRAQ5 (cat. no. 65-0880)
  • Mounting medium: Fluoromount-G (cat. no. 00-4958) or Fluoromount-G with DAPI (cat. no. 00-4959)

Accessories

  • Humidified container in which to place the samples during incubations
  • Parafilm
  • Glass coverslips
  • Clear nail polish

Methods

  1. Cells are plated at an appropriate density and allowed to attach to the slide or dish (ex. 30,000 cells/chamber in an 8-chamber slide). Cells are usually plated one day prior to staining in order to achieve 60-80% confluency.
  2. Fix the cells with 100% methanol for 10 minutes at -20°C.
    • Note: optimal fixation time and reagent depends on the antigen of interest and must be optimized. The times and methods are suggested starting points for optimization.
  3. Gently wash the cells 3 times in PBS or TBS (5 min/wash) using a dropper to add PBS or TBS to the chamber followed by aspiration to remove the buffer.
    • Note: It is critical from this point on that the cells do not dry out as this will cause increased levels of background staining and difficulty interpreting results. It is best not to aspirate more than 2 wells at a time in order to reduce the possibility of the cells within the wells drying.
  4. Cover the cells with blocking solution (100 μL/chamber in an 8-chamber slide). To limit evaporation, use a piece of parafilm to tightly cover the opening of the chamber slide. Incubate in a humidified chamber for 1 hour at room temperature.
  5. Remove the parafilm cover and gently wash the cells 3 times in PBS or TBS (5 minutes/wash) as described in step 3.
  6. Dilute flurophore-conjugated antibody or multiple fluorophore-conjugated antibodies, at manufacturer’s recommended dilution, in blocking reagent and overlay onto cells, protecting from light. Tightly cover the opening of the chamber slide with parafilm. Incubate in a humidified chamber overnight at 4°C.
  7. Remove the parafilm cover and gently wash the cells 3 times in PBS or TBS (5 min/wash) as described in step 3.
  8. [Optional] Nuclei can be counterstained using DAPI or DRAQ5. It is necessary to select a counterstaining agent with a fluorescent emission spectra that does not overlap with the emission spectra of the other fluorophores used in the experiment.
  9. Mount and coverslip using Fluoromount-G or Fluoromount-G with DAPI. Seal the edge of the coverglass with clear nail polish.
  10. Allow slides to dry for 1-2 hours before visualizing. 10. Slides can be stored at 4°C protected from light, if needed.
  11. Slides can be stored at 4°C protected from light, if needed.