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Immunology and Infection

Double Labeling Immunofluorescence using Antibodies from the Same Species to Study Host-Pathogen Interactions

Published: July 10th, 2021



1Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology of Trypanosomatids, Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathogenic Bioagents, Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil
* These authors contributed equally

Here, the protocol describes how to perform double labeling immunofluorescence using primary antibodies raised in the same species to study host-pathogen interactions. Also, it can include the third antibody from a different host in this protocol. This approach can be made in any cell type and pathogens.

Nowadays, it is possible to find a wide range of molecular tools available to study parasite-host cell interactions. However, some limitations exist to obtain commercial monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies that recognize specific cell structures and proteins in parasites. Besides, there are few commercial antibodies available to label trypanosomatids. Usually, polyclonal antibodies against parasites are prepared in-house and could be more challenging to use in combination with other antibodies produced in the same species. Here, the protocol demonstrates how to use polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies raised in the same species to perform double labeling immunofluorescence to study host cell and pathogen interactions. To achieve the double labeling immunofluorescence, it is crucial to incubate first the mouse polyclonal antibody and then follow the incubation with the secondary mouse IgG antibody conjugated to any fluorochrome. After that, an additional blocking step is necessary to prevent any trace of the primary antibody from being recognized by the next secondary antibody. Then, a mouse monoclonal antibody and its specific IgG subclass secondary antibody conjugated to a different fluorochrome are added to the sample at the appropriate times. Additionally, it is possible to perform triple labeling immunofluorescence using a third antibody raised in a different species. Also, structures such as nuclei and actin can be stained subsequently with their specific compounds or labels. Thus, these approaches presented here can be adjusted for any cell whose sources of primary antibodies are limited.

To study the interaction of the pathogen with the host cell at the cellular level provides essential information on the underlying causes of the disease since different groups, such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, can infect most host cell types1,2,3,4. It can also help develop and identify potential therapeutic targets that can slow or inhibit the growth of the pathogen. In live conditions, the produced antibodies are responsible for recognizing self-components, antigens from viruses, bacterial components or products, fungi, p....

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1. Cell and parasite cultures

  1. Grow LLC-MK2 (Rhesus Monkey Kidney Epithelial) cells from the American Type Culture Collection (CCL-7) in a 25 cm2 cell culture flask containing in RPMI medium supplemented with 10% heat-inactivated FBS (Fetal Bovine Serum) and antibiotics (100 U/mL Penicillin and 100 µg/mL Streptomycin) at 37 °C in 5% CO2 17.
  2. Infect LLC-MK2 cells with Trypanosoma cruzi (Y strain) according to a previous protocol

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Here, we show how to study host-parasite interactions by immunofluorescence when the source of antibodies is limited due to the unavailability of commercial antibodies that recognize specific structures and proteins in trypanosomatids.

Among trypanosomatids, T. cruzi has one of the most complex life cycles involving various development stages between vertebrate and invertebrate hosts 19. During the T. cruzi life cycle, at an early stage of mammalian in.......

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Here, we present a protocol to perform double immunolabeling in Trypanosoma cruzi infected cells using two different antibodies from the same host species. To study, with more detail, the implications of the infection, structures in the host cell such as the nucleus or cytosolic organelles can be labeled using this protocol. Also, it can be used in the post-embedding thin section immunogold labeling method. This approach helps to overcome the obstacle of having few antibodies available to study trypanosomatids a.......

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This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP 2010/19547-1; 2018/03677-5) to MMAB, by Fundação de Apoio ao Ensino, Pesquisa e Assistência- FAEPA to MMAB and by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior- Brasil (CAPES) - finance code 001. CG-C received a master and doctoral fellowship from CAPES and LAMT-S received doctoral fellowship from CNPq. We thank Elizabete R. Milani for confocal microscopy assistance and Dr. Dario Zamboni for providing LLC-MK2 cells (Ribeirao Preto Medical School, USP).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Alexa Fluor 488 - IgG2b antibody Life technologies, USA A21141 Goat anti-mouse
AffiniPure Rabbit anti-mouse IgG (H+L) Jackson Immunoresearch, USA 315-005-003 Anti-mouse antibody
Alexa Fluor 488 - IgG F (ab')2 (H+L) antibody Life technologies, USA A11017 Goat anti mouse
Alexa Fluor 594 IgG1 antibody Life technologies, USA A21125 Goat anti-mouse
Alexa Fluor 647 - IgG F (ab')2 (H+L) antibody Life technologies, USA A21237 Goat anti-mouse
Anti-hnRNPA1 antibody IgG2b Sigma-Aldrich, USA R4528 Mouse antibody
anti-TcFAZ (T. cruzi FAZ protein) antibody Our lab In-house Mouse antibody
Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) Sigma-Aldrich, USA A2153-10G Albumin protein
Detergent Igepal CA-630 Sigma-Aldrich, USA I3021 Nonionic Detergent
Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) Gibco, Thermo fisher scientific, USA 12657-029 Serum
Penicillin Streptomycin Gibco, Thermo fisher scientific, USA 15140-122 Antibiotic
Phalloidin Alexa Fluor 594 Life technologies, USA A12381 Actin marker
ProLong Gold antifade with DAPI Life technologies, USA P36935 Mounting media reagent
RPMI 1640 1X with L-glutamine Corning, USA 10-040-CV Cell culture media
Trypsin-EDTA solution Sigma-Aldrich, USA T4049-100ML Bioreagent

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