Multiplexing of GFP based and immunofluorescence translocation assays enables easy acquisition of multiple readouts from the same cell in a single assay run. Immunofluorescence assays monitor translocation, phosphorylation, and up/down regulation of endogenous proteins. GFP-based assays monitor translocation of stably expressed GFP-fusion proteins. Such assays may be multiplexed along (vertical), across (horizontal), and between (branch) signal pathways. Examples of these strategies are presented: 1) The MK2-GFP assay monitors translocation of MK2-GFP from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in response to stimulation of the p38 pathway. By applying different immunofluorescent assays to the MK2 assay, a multiplexed HCA system is created for deconvolution of p38 pathway activation including assay readouts for MK2, p38, NFκB, and c-Jun. 2) A method for evaluating GPCR activation and internalization in a single assay run has been established by multiplexing GFP-based internalization assays with immunofluorescence assays for downstream transducers of GPCR activity: pCREB (cAMP sensor), NFATc1 (Ca2+ sensor), and ERK (G-protein activation). Activation of the AT1 receptor is given as an example. 3) Cell toxicity readouts can be linked to primary readouts of interest via acquisition of secondary parameters describing cellular morphology. This approach is used to flag cytotoxic compounds and deselect false positives. The ATF6 Redistribution assay is provided as an example. These multiplex strategies provide a unique opportunity to enhance HCA data quality and save time during drug discovery. From a single assay run, several assay readouts are obtained that help the user to deconvolute the mode of action of test compounds.
Keywords: Multiplex, redistribution, GFP, high content, cell-based assay, p38, GPCR, cytotoxicity
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