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Quaternary benzo[c]phenanthridine alkaloids--novel cell permeant and red fluorescing DNA probes.

Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology (2007-06-06)
Iva Slaninová, Jirí Slanina, Eva Táborská

Quaternary benzo[c]phenanthridine alkaloids (QBAs) are naturally occurring compounds isolated from plants in the Fumariaceae, Papaveraceae, Ranunculaceae, and Rutaceae families. In addition to having a wide range of biological activities, they are also attractive for their fluorescent properties. We observed interesting fluorescent characteristics in the QBAs-macarpine (MA), sanguirubine (SR), chelirubine (CHR), sanguilutine (SL), chelilutine (CHL), sanguinarine (SA) and chelerythrine (CHE) after interaction with living cells. Water stock solutions of the alkaloids (10-100 microg/ml) were added to intact cells, and after a brief incubation the cells were observed. Human cell lines HL60 (human promyelocytic leukemia), HeLa (human cervix adenocarcinoma), and LEP (human lung fibroblasts), and piglet blood were used in the experiments. Blood cells were stained with MA in combination with FITC-conjugated anti-CD45 surface marker antibody. Cells were analyzed by fluorescence microscopy and by flow cytometry. All tested alkaloids immediately entered living cells with MA, CHR, and SA binding to DNA. MA showed the best DNA staining properties. Fluorescence microscopy of MA, CHR, and SA stained cells described the nuclear architecture and clearly described chromosomes and apoptotic fragments in living cells. Moreover MA can rapidly represent the cellular DNA content of living cells at a resolution adequate for cell cycle analysis. QBAs were excitable using common argon lasers (488 nm) emitting at a range of 575-755 nm (i.e. fluorescence detectors FL2-5). Spectral characteristics of MA allow simultaneous surface immunophenotyping. It was shown that MA, CHR, and SA stain nucleic acids in living cells. They can be used as supravital fluorescent DNA probes, both in fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry, including multiparameter analysis of peripheral blood and bone marrow. MA binds DNA stochiometrically and can provide information on DNA content.

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Propidium iodide solution, solution (1.0 mg/ml in water)