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The MUB40 Peptide for Use in Detecting Neutrophil-Mediated Inflammation Events

Published: January 7th, 2019



1Unité de Pathogénie Microbienne Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, 2INSERM Unité 1202, Institut Pasteur, 3Institut de Biochimie et Génétique Cellulaires, Université Bordeaux Segalen, 4Unit of Technology and Service Photonic BioImaging, Institut Pasteur

Here, we present a protocol to detect the presence of neutrophils in fixed/permeabilized histology sections and assess the activation state of live purified neutrophils. In particular, the MUB40 peptide binds lactoferrin present in neutrophil-specific and tertiary granules. Exposure of the granule contents through either permeabilization or neutrophil activation allows for the marking of neutrophils.

Here, we provide a protocol involving the use of MUB40, a synthesized peptide with the ability to bind glycosylated lactoferrin stored at high concentrations in specific and tertiary granules of neutrophils. This protocol details how MUB40 conjugated directly to a fluorophore can be used to stain neutrophils in fixed/permeabilized tissues as well as how this can be used in live-cell imaging to assay for neutrophil activation and de-granulation. Neutrophil detection methods are limited to species-specific monoclonal antibodies, which are not always suitable for certain applications. MUB40 does not penetrate the cell membrane and is thus excluded from lactoferrin stored in non-activated/non-permeabilized neutrophils. MUB40 has the added benefit of recognizing lactoferrin from a broad host range, making it especially useful for comparing results in studies involving multiple research models, reducing the number of duplicate reagents, and simplifying protocols through single-step staining.

Neutrophils are one of the primary arms of the innate immune system and are routinely recruited to the sites of inflammation around the body. The study of neutrophils has been largely impaired by their short lifespan in vitro (less than 8 h) and by limited detection tools under basal conditions or after activation. Here, we present a well-tested protocol for the broad and specific detection of mammalian neutrophils in fixed/permeabilized samples. We also provide a detailed protocol for staining live neutrophils with MUB40. Using the live neutrophil staining protocol, the timing and location of neutrophil activation can be pinpointed. This protocol ....

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All methods described here have been reviewed and approved by the French organizations CoRC (Comité de Recherche Clinique), CPP (Comité de Protection des Personnes), and CNIL (Commission Nationale Informatique et Liberté).

1. Staining Neutrophils in Histopathology Tissue with Fluorescently Labelled MUB40

  1. To obtain the tissue for histopathology, fix tissue/biopsy sections in a suitable volume of 4% paraformaldehyde (PFA) for 30 min up to 4 h depending on th.......

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Results of MUB40-stained tissues from histopathology slides typically reveal individual cells scattered throughout the tissue. MUB40 stains lactoferrin, which is present in neutrophil granules and compartmentalized. Thus, typically seen are punctate staining or several large separated areas of signal coming from individual neutrophils (Figure 1). It is helpful to add a second cell marker such as DAPI to help co-localize the MUB.......

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Here, two assays are described in which the MUB40 peptide is used to study neutrophil inflammation and activation. We show how MUB40 can reveal neutrophils present in histopathology sections or show their activation state using live purified neutrophils. The critical steps for using MUB40 as a staining reagent are the same as with any other fluorescent detection method. Care must be taken to ensure compatibility of fluorescent signals and that adequate washing steps have been ta.......

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This work was supported by the Fondation Laurette Fugain (LF-2015-15) (B.S.M.) and ANR JCJC grants (ANR-17-CE15-0012) (B.S.M.).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
MUB40-Cy5 Benoit Marteyn Fluorescent MUB40 peptide (available with other conjugated fluorophores)
RI-MUB40-Cy5 Benoit Marteyn Retro-inverso fluorescent MUB40 peptide. Synthesized with D-amino acids and resistant to proteases (available with other conjugated fluorophores)
Parformaldehyde Sigma-Aldrich 16005 Fixative for histology
Sucrose Sigma-Aldrich S7903 Solution used to remove excess PFA
Optimal Cutting Temperature Compound (OCT) Sakura Finetek USA 4583 Used to freeze tissue before cryostat sectioning
2-Methylbutane Sigma-Aldrich M32631 Used to freeze tissue before cryostat sectioning
Ethanol Sigma-Aldrich 1.00974 Used for dry ice bath to freeze tissue
Leica Cryostat Leica Biosystems CM1520 Used to section tissues
Glass microscopy slides Fisher Scientific 12-518-101
Cover slips Thor Labs CG15CH Hi precision coverslip
Dako pen  Sigma-Aldrich Z377821 Used to prevent liquid loss during tissue staining
Saponin Sigma-Aldrich 47036 Used to permeabilize cells for IF staining
DAPI Sigma-Aldrich 10236276001 Stains DNA 
Alexa fluor 488 Phalloidin  Fisher Scientific A12379 Binds actin
Prolong Gold antifade Mountant Fisher Scientific P36930 Prolongs IF signal and resistance to photobleaching
Fluorescent microscope Various Various Used to image IF slides
Anoxic Cabinet Various Various Used for the purification of live inactivated neutrophils
Sodium Chloride NaCL Sigma-Aldrich S7653
EDTA Sigma-Aldrich E9884 Washing buffer component
MACS BSA buffer Miltenyi Biotec 130-091-376 Washing buffer component
Percoll Sigma-Aldrich P4937 Gradient for neutrophil purification
CD235a glycophorin magnetic microbeads Miltenyi Biotec 130-050-501 Used to remove contaminating RBCs
LS columns Miltenyi Biotec 130-042-401 Used in the removal of RBCs from neutrophils
RPMI-1640 without Phenol Red Sigma-Aldrich R8755 Used for neutrophil assays

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