Dynamic visualization of membrane-inserted fraction of pHluorin-tagged channels using repetitive acidification technique
1 Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014, Helsinki, Finland
2 Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Division of Biochemistry, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014, Helsinki, Finland
3 Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:141 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-141Published: 30 November 2009
Changes in neuronal excitability, synaptic efficacy and generally in cell signaling often result from insertion of key molecules into plasma membrane (PM). Many of the techniques used for monitoring PM insertion lack either spatial or temporal resolution.
We improved the imaging method based on time-lapse total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and pHluorin tagging by supplementing it with a repetitive extracellular acidification protocol. We illustrate the applicability of this method by showing that brief activation of NMDA receptors ("chemical LTP") in cultured hippocampal neurons induced a persistent PM insertion of glutamate receptors containing the pHluorin-tagged GluR-A(flip) subunits.
The repetitive acidification technique provides a more accurate way of monitoring the PM-inserted fraction of fluorescently tagged molecules and offers a good temporal and spatial resolution.