The following protocol is a detailed worked example designed to enable the user to run a successful phagocytosis assay. It specifically describes the use of IncuCyte® Live-Cell Analysis System for monitoring bioparticle uptake in the presence of inhibitory agents in a single 96-well plate. In this example, the mouse macrophage cell line J774A.1 is used.
J774A.1 murine macrophage cell line were seeded at 1 x104 cells/well and incubated with IncuCyte® pHrodo® Green E. coli Bioparticles® (10 μg/well). Exemplar data show blended images of phase contrast and green fluorescent images (top row), fluorescent images alone (middle row) at 0, 1 and 4 hours incubation time.
Bottom row shows the masked fluorescent area. Briefly, the IncuCyte® ZOOM software enables users to define a minimum fluorescence intensity threshold. Any fluorescent pixel which has an intensity above this threshold is considered to be above the signal-to-noise ratio and becomes ‘masked’. This masked area increases as more phagosomes engulf bioparticles and become fluorescent. Hence the metric ‘Total fluorescent object area’ is a useful surrogate for phagosome counting.
Above plot shows the increase in masked fluorescent object area (proportional to the number of phagosomes which have engulfed bioparticles). Fluorescence area and intensity increase where cells have been exposed to bioparticles (dark blue markers). In the absence of phagocytic cells (pale blue markers) no increase in fluorescence is observed.
As the phagosomes engulf bioparticles and become mature phagolysosomes, their pH continues to decrease. As this occurs the fluorescence intensity of the probe continues to increase.
Above plot shows the increase in intensity of fluorescent objects. This metric enables users to not only measure how many phagosomes have taken up bioparticles, but also measure their maturation.
Over time the number of phagocytosing cells increases, and cell proliferation can be quantified using the metric ‘Phase Object Confluence’: a measure of the area of field of view covered by cells.
To generate this metrics the user must create a Processing Definition suited to the cell type, assay conditions and magnification and then apply the Processing Definition to the data set as an Analysis Job.
On addition to the cells, bioparticles will be visible in phase images as fine granular material. In order to exclude these objects from the mask, use the Area Filter function when setting up the processing definition. By choosing a minimum area requirement, all particles defined as smaller than this area will be excluded from the mask.
The data can be exported into a third party data analysis program (e.g. Microsoft Excel) and increase in confluence plotted over time.
As the cells engulf IncuCyte® pHrodo® Bioparticles®, the fluorescence intensity inside the cells increases. This can be reported in two ways: as an increase in fluorescence area (‘Total Object Area’); and as increase in intensity, integrated over the area of detectable fluorescence (‘Total Integrated Intensity’).
To generate these metrics the user must create a Processing Definition suited to the cell type, assay conditions and magnification and then apply the Processing Definition to the data set as an Analysis Job.