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Development of a Novel Cell-Based ELISA for Analysis of Intracellular Proteins or Phosphorylation of Signaling Molecules.
Wen-Chieh Liao, Kim Herman, Zhenfen Zhao, Steven Stoesz, and Roberto Campos-Gonzalez
Sponsored by R&D Systems, Inc.
Published in September 2010 2010 (p.3) DOI:  10.2144/000113522 Sponsored,vendor-submitted protocol
Quantification of intracellular proteins and phosphorylation events is extremely important for biomedical research. Although Western blot is the most widely used method, it is labor intensive and time-consuming, especially when analyzing multiple samples. The plate-based immunoassay has become a popular alternative method for rapid protein detection. We have developed a fluorogenic Cell-Based ELISA that does not require lysate preparation or the multiple subsequent steps required for Western blot analysis. The Cell-Based ELISA format allows two target cellular proteins, or events, to be analyzed simultaneously in the same well, thus minimizing well-to-well variability.
Cells are grown in 96-well plates and treated with the appropriate conditions, such as inhibitors or ligand stimulation. The cells are then fixed and permeabilized in the wells. This is followed by incubation with two primary antibodies derived from different species: a phospho-specific antibody and a normalization antibody that recognizes the total protein regardless of its phosphorylation status. Species-specific secondary antibodies labeled with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and alkaline phosphatase (AP), and spectrally distinct fluorogenic substrates for each enzyme, are used for detection. The fluorescence of the phosphorylated protein is normalized to that of the total protein in each well to correct for well-to-well variations. Cell-Based ELISAs have been used to evaluate the effects of stimulators and inhibitors on cultured cells, and this has been accomplished with 10,000 cells, or less, per well. For example, phosphorylation of JNK (T183/Y185), Akt (S473), EGF R (Y1068), FRS2 (Y436), total protein levels of IkB-a induced by various stimuli, and the effects of kinase inhibitors, were assessed here using the Cell- Based ELISA method. The results were compared with Western blot and traditional sandwich ELISA. Once the cells are plated on 96-well microplates, the total hands-on time for the Cell-Based ELISA is approximately 3 hours, which is significantly less than other techniques. In addition, Cell-Based ELISAs are amenable to high-throughput applications and may prove a valuable addition to kinase inhibitor screening strategies.
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