Reduced fluorescence versus forward scatter time-of-flight and increased peak versus integral fluorescence ratios indicate receptor clustering in flow cytometry

Barbara G. Fürnrohr, Merle Stein, Benjamin Rhodes, Prabhjoat S. Chana, Georg Schett, Timothy J. Vyse, Martin Herrmann, Dirk Mielenz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Clustering of surface receptors is often required to initiate signal transduction, receptor internalization, and cellular activation. To study the kinetics of clustering, we developed an economic high-throughput method using flow cytometry. The quantification of receptor clustering by flow cytometry is based on the following two observations: first, the fluorescence signal length (FL time-of-flight [ToF]) decreases relative to the forward scatter signal length (FSc-ToF), and second, the peak FL (FL-peak) increases relative to the integral FL (FL-integral) upon clustering of FL-labeled surface receptors. Receptor macroclustering can therefore be quantified using the ratios FL-ToF/FSc-ToF (method ToF) or FL-peak/FL-integral (method Peak). We have used these methods to analyze clustering of two immune receptors known to undergo different conformational and oligomeric states: the BCR and the complement receptor 3 (CR3), on murine splenocytes, purified B cells, and human neutrophils. Engagement of both the BCR and CR3, on immortalized as well as primary murine B cells and human neutrophil, respectively, resulted in decreased FL-ToF/FSc-ToF and increased FL-peak/FLintegral ratios. Manipulation of the actin-myosin cytoskeleton altered BCR clustering which could be measured using the established parameters. To confirm clustering of CR3 on neutrophils, we applied imaging flow cytometry. Because receptor engagement is as a biological process dependent on cell viability, energy metabolism, and temperature, receptor clustering can only be quantified by gating on viable cells under physiological conditions. In summary, with this novel method, receptor clustering on nonadherent cells can easily be monitored by high-throughput conventional flow cytometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume195
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

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