Research Paper Volume 3, Issue 10 pp 955—967
Nuclear protein accumulation in cellular senescence and organismal aging revealed with a novel single-cell resolution fluorescence microscopy assay
- 1 Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
- 2 Department of Veterinary Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
- 3 Department of Biochemistry, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, 173-8605, Japan
received: October 11, 2011 ; accepted: October 12, 2011 ; published: October 16, 2011 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100372
How to Cite
Replicative cellular senescence was discovered some 50 years ago. The phenotypes of senescent cells have been investigated extensively in cell culture, and found to affect essentially all aspects of cellular physiology. The relevance of cellular senescence in the context of age-associated pathologies as well as normal aging is a topic of active and ongoing interest. Considerable effort has been devoted to biomarker discovery to enable the microscopic detection of single senescent cells in tissues. One characteristic of senescent cells documented very early in cell culture studies was an increase in cell size and total protein content, but whether this occurs in vivo is not known. A limiting factor for studies of protein content and localization has been the lack of suitable fluorescence microscopy tools. We have developed an easy and flexible method, based on the merocyanine dye known as NanoOrange, to visualize and quantitatively measure total protein levels by high resolution fluorescence microscopy. NanoOrange staining can be combined with antibody-based immunofluorescence, thus providing both specific target and total protein information in the same specimen. These methods are optimally combined with automated image analysis platforms for high throughput analysis. We document here increasing protein content and density in nuclei of senescent human and mouse fibroblasts in vitro, and in liver nuclei of aged mice in vivo. Additionally, in aged liver nuclei NanoOrange revealed protein-dense foci that colocalize with centromeric heterochromatin.