Immuno-fluorescent labeling of microtubules and centrosomal proteins in ex vivo intestinal tissue and 3D in vitro intestinal organoids

Deborah A. Goldspink, Zoe J. Matthews, Elizabeth K. Lund, Tom Wileman, Mette M. Mogensen

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The advent of 3D in vitro organoids that mimic the in vivo tissue architecture and morphogenesis has greatly advanced the ability to study key biological questions in cell and developmental biology. In addition, organoids together with recent technical advances in gene editing and viral gene delivery promises to advance medical research and development of new drugs for treatment of diseases. Organoids grown in vitro in basement matrix provide powerful model systems for studying the behavior and function of various proteins and are well suited for live-imaging of fluorescent-tagged proteins. However, establishing the expression and localization of the endogenous proteins in ex vivo tissue and in in vitro organoids is important to verify the behavior of the tagged proteins. To this end we have developed and modified tissue isolation, fixation, and immuno-labeling protocols for localization of microtubules, centrosomal, and associated proteins in ex vivo intestinal tissue and in in vitro intestinal organoids. The aim was for the fixative to preserve the 3D architecture of the organoids/tissue while also preserving antibody antigenicity and enabling good penetration and clearance of fixative and antibodies. Exposure to cold depolymerizes all but stable microtubules and this was a key factor when modifying the various protocols. We found that increasing the ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) concentration from 3 mM to 30 mM gave efficient detachment of villi and crypts in the small intestine while 3 mM EDTA was sufficient for colonic crypts. The developed formaldehyde/methanol fixation protocol gave very good structural preservation while also preserving antigenicity for effective labeling of microtubules, actin, and the end-binding (EB) proteins. It also worked for the centrosomal protein ninein although the methanol protocol worked more consistently. We further established that fixation and immuno-labeling of microtubules and associated proteins could be achieved with organoids isolated from or remaining within the basement matrix.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56662
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2017

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