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Quantifying Heterogeneity of Individual Organelles in Mixed Populations via Mass Cytometry

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journal contribution
posted on 17.10.2018, 00:00 by Heather M. G. Brown, Edgar A. Arriaga
Macroautophagy is a complex degradative intracellular process by which long-lived proteins and damaged organelles are cleared. Common methods for the analysis of autophagy are bulk measurements which mask organelle heterogeneity and complicate the analysis of interorganelle association and trafficking. Thus, methods for individual organelle quantification are needed to address these deficiencies. Current techniques for quantifying individual autophagy organelles are either low through-put or are dimensionally limited. We make use of the multiparametric capability of mass cytometry to investigate phenotypic heterogeneity in autophagy-related organelle types that have been isolated from murine brain, liver, and skeletal muscle. Detection and phenotypic classification of individual organelles were accomplished through the use of a lanthanide-chelating membrane stain and organelle-specific antibodies. Posthoc sample matrix background correction and nonspecific antibody binding corrections provide measures of interorganelle associations and heterogeneity. This is the first demonstration of multiparametric individual organelle analysis via mass cytometry. The method described here illustrates the potential for further investigation of the inherently complex interorganelle associations, trafficking, and heterogeneity present in most eukaryotic biological systems.