Semi-intact cells for nucleo-cytoplasmic transport studies

U. Walaschewski, D. A. Jans, D. C. Neugebauer, R. Peters

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A new method for in vitro studies of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport is described. The method is based on the observation mode originally by Simons and Virta ([1987] EMBO J 6:2241-2247] that the apical plasma membrane of epithelial cells growing in monolayer culture con be mechanically removed by letting a nitrocellulose filter adsorb to the cell monolayer and then tearing it off. Using confocal imaging we find that the method con be much improved if a soft common laboratory tissue, instead of the stiff nitrocellulose filter, is employed. Cells permeabilised in that matter were found to maintain nuclear integrity with regard to passive permeability and energy- dependent protein transport. Interestingly, the nuclear envelope displayed a slightly increased passive permeability immediately after permeabilisation, which, however, spontaneously 'healed' within about 15 minutes. Permeabilised cells could be repeatedly washed without comprising nuclear envelope integrity. All together we find that mechanical permeabilisation in the version described in this paper is convenient, fast, reliable, and inexpensive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalMethods in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Walaschewski, U., Jans, D. A., Neugebauer, D. C., & Peters, R. (1994). Semi-intact cells for nucleo-cytoplasmic transport studies. Methods in Molecular and Cellular Biology, 5(2), 87-95.