Reproducibility is key to scientific research. It is, in fact, a hallmark of the Scientific Method, controlling variables until the same result can be achieved time again. There are few things more frustrating than following a simple experimental protocol and not achieving the predicted result. This inevitably leads to wasted time, wasted reagents, and very frustrated researchers.
As mentioned before, one of the things that has been bugging me about the SmartFlares is that they’re not where anyone expects them. EMD expect them in the cytosol (we don’t see them there), I expected them in endosomes and they weren’t really there either. So what could this mystery compartment be?
In a recent post, I was musing about why the SmartFlares weren’t in the swollen chloroquine-induced vacuoles. Out of interest more than anything, I did a quick experiment to see what would happen if I pre-labelled the endocytic pathway with one coloured dextran, then added in a second with the chloroquine.
In order to investigate why the SmartFlares seem to be fluorescent in puncta within the cells, we designed an experiment to try to inhibit endosomal maturation, thus (hopefully) preventing SmartFlare processing and release of fluorescence.
This is a final repeat of the basic SmartFlare experiment. HeLa cells are loaded with the three variants of SmartFlares and imaged 18h later.
The purpose of these experiments is to be able to visualise the SmartFlares (SFs) in the cell after having followed the loading protocol provided by the manufacturers. After 16-20h the SFs should be in a position to interact with mRNA in the cell and this means a cytosolic localisation. We will use DMOG to stimulate VEGF mRNA production in the cell.
As discussed in a previous post, the punctate distribution of all of the SmartFlares (SFs) is both unexpected and curious. In order to better understand where the SFs are localised in the cell, we would like to do a fairly routine co-staining experiment.