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Application of Staining Intensity Correlation Analysis to Visualize Protein Colocalizationat a Cellular Level

Authors: Permphan Dharmasaroja


Mutations of the telomeric copy of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene cause spinal muscular atrophy. A deletion of the Eef1a2 gene leads to lower motor neuron degeneration in wasted mice. Indirect evidences have been shown that the eEF1A protein family may interact with SMN, and our previous study showed that abnormalities of neuromuscular junctions in wasted mice were similar to those of Smn mutant mice. To determine potential colocalization between SMN and tissue-specific translation elongation factor 1A2 (eEF1A2), an immunochemical analysis of HeLa cells transfected with the plasmid pcDNA3.1(+)C-hEEF1A2- myc and a new quantitative test of colocalization by intensity correlation analysis (ICA) was used to explore the association of SMN and eEF1A2. Here the results showed that eEF1A2 redistributed from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in response to serum and epidermal growth factor. In the cytoplasm, compelling evidence showed that staining for myc-tagged eEF1A2 varied in synchrony with that for SMN, consistent with the formation of a SMN-eEF1A2 complex in the cytoplasm of HeLa cells. These findings suggest that eEF1A2 may colocalize with SMN in the cytoplasm and may be a component of the SMN complex. However, the limitation of the ICA method is an inability to resolve colocalization in components of small organelles such as the nucleus.

Keywords: Intensity correlation analysis, intensity correlation quotient.

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