Immunofluorescence (IF) is a beautiful technique. Life scientists often use it to detect specific protein expression. The results are visually stunning, colorful images that show the localization of a particular protein within a cell. The scientific and aesthetic appeal of IF has led to increased use of IF data in publications.
Beautiful data do not come easily, as many research scientists will agree. IF is carried out on cells grown on or sticking to glass slides. These cells must stick strongly through fixation, permeabilization and probing procedures. Add rounds of washes with buffer and detergent in between, and you realize just how well the cells must stick to the glass for IF to work. Which cells would be right for such a demanding job ? Enter adherent cells, with their natural propensity to stick to appropriate surfaces, including coated glass slides. Suspension cells just don’t cut it, and the penchant for avoiding them in IF is all too evident in scientific publications.
Fair enough, but what if you need to investigate a specific protein in suspension cells ? How do you stick suspension cells on the cover-slips strongly enough for immunofluorescence? You can try special spin columns and centrifuging. This method applies a physical force on the cells to get them to stick on the glass. Or you could fix, permeabilize, probe and the wash the cells in suspension first. Next, you would use adhesives to get them to stick on the glass slides cover-slips. Both methods involve additional steps that may require optimizing, adding to the already elaborate protocol. Would it not be great if you could attach suspension easily to glass slides, and even grow them on the slides, to make IF easier ? In other words, make them behave as if they were adherent ?
Now you can! Shikhar Biotech has developed cover-slips on which suspension cells can be simply added onto. The cells will attach to the cover-slips, and happily grow on them as a mono-layer. you can subject these cells to immunofluorescence protocol as if they were adherent (which they are, sort of ;)). A technical need has now been met, and will hopefully lead to additional beautiful IF data from suspension cells.