Preparation of Drosophila S2 cells for light microscopy

Daniel W. Buster, Jonathan Nye, Joseph E. Klebba, Gregory C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ideal experimental system would be cheap and easy to maintain, amenable to a variety of techniques, and would be supported by an extensive literature and genome sequence database. Cultured Drosophila S2 cells, the product of disassociated 20-24 hour old embryos, possess all these properties. Consequently, S2 cells are extremely well-suited for the analysis of cellular processes, including the discovery of the genes encoding the molecular components of the process or mechanism of interest. The features of S2 cells that are most responsible for their utility are the ease with which they are maintained, their exquisite sensitivity to double-stranded (ds)RNA-mediated interference (RNAi), and their tractability to fluorescence microscopy as either live or fixed cells. S2 cells can be grown in a variety of media, including a number of inexpensive, commercially-available, fully-defined, serum-free media. In addition, they grow optimally and quickly at 21-24°C and can be cultured in a variety of containers. Unlike mammalian cells, S2 cells do not require a regulated atmosphere, but instead do well with normal air and can even be maintained in sealed flasks. Complementing the ease of RNAi in S2 cells is the ability to readily analyze experimentally-induced phenotypes by phase or fluorescence microscopy of fixed or live cells. S2 cells grow in culture as a single monolayer but do not display contact inhibition. Instead, cells tend to grow in colonies in dense cultures. At low density, S2 cultures grown on glass or tissue culture-treated plastic are round and loosely-attached. However, the cytology of S2 cells can be greatly improved by inducing them to flatten extensively by briefly culturing them on a surface coated with the lectin, concanavalin A (ConA). S2 cells can also be stably transfected with fluorescently-tagged markers to label structures or organelles of interest in live or fixed cells. Therefore, the usual scenario for the microscopic analysis of cells is this: first, S2 cells (which can possess transgenes to express tagged markers) are treated by RNAi to eliminate a target protein(s). RNAi treatment time can be adjusted to allow for differences in protein turn-over kinetics and to minimize cell trauma/death if the target protein is important for viability. Next, the treated cells are transferred to a dish containing a coverslip pre-coated with conA to induce cells to spread and tightly adhere to the glass. Finally, cells are imaged with the researcher's choice of microscopy modes. S2 cells are particularly good for studies requiring extended visualization of live cells since these cells stay healthy at room temperature and normal atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1982
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number40
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Cellular biology
  • Drosophila
  • Issue 40
  • RNAi
  • S2 cells
  • Schneider cells
  • dsRNA-mediated interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Preparation of Drosophila S2 cells for light microscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this