Monitoring Agonist-induced Phospholipase C Activation in Live Cells by Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer

Jose Van der Wal, Ron Habets, Péter Várnai, Tamas Balla, Kees Jalink

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201 Citations (Scopus)


Agonist-induced intracellular Ca2+ signals following phospholipase C (PLC) activation display a variety of patterns, including transient, sustained, and oscillatory behavior. These Ca2+ changes have been well characterized, but detailed kinetic analyses of PLC activation in single living cells is lacking, due to the absence of suitable indicators for use in vivo. Recently, green fluorescent protein-tagged pleckstrin homology domains have been employed to monitor PLC activation in single cells, based on (confocal) imaging of their fluorescence translocation from the membrane to the cytosol that occurs upon hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate. Here we describe fluorescence resonance energy transfer between pleckstrin homology domains of PLCδ1 tagged with cyan and yellow fluorescent proteins as a sensitive readout of phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate metabolism for use both in cell populations and in single cells. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer requires significantly less excitation intensity, enabling prolonged and fast data acquisition without the cell damage that limits confocal experiments. It also allows experiments on motile or extremely flat cells, and can be scaled to record from cell populations as well as single neurites. Characterization of responses to various agonists by this method reveals that stimuli that elicit very similar Ca2+ mobilization responses can exhibit widely different kinetics of PLC activation, and that the latter appears to follow receptor activation more faithfully than the cytosolic Ca2+ transient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15337-15344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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