The specific functional properties of a tissue are distributed amongst its component cell types. The various cells act coherently, as an ensemble, in order to execute a physiologic response. Modern approaches for identifying and dissecting novel physiologic mechanisms would benefit from an ability to identify specific cell types in live tissues that could then be imaged in real-time. Current techniques require the use of fluorescent genetic reporters that are not only cumbersome, but which only allow the simultaneous study of 3 or 4 cell types at a time. We report a non-invasive imaging modality that capitalizes on the endogenous autofluorescence signatures of the metabolic cofactors NAD(P)H and FAD. By marrying morphological characteristics with autofluorescence signatures, all seven of the airway epithelial cell types can be distinguished simultaneously in mouse tracheal explant in real-time. Furthermore, we find that this methodology for direct cell type specific identification avoids pitfalls associated with the use of ostensibly cell type-specific markers that are, in fact, altered by clinically relevant physiologic stimuli. Finally, we utilize this methodology to interrogate real-time physiology and identify dynamic secretory cell associated antigen passages (SAPs) that form in response to cholinergic stimulus. The identical process has been well documented in the intestine where the dynamic formation of secretory and goblet cell associated antigen passages (SAPs and GAPs) enable luminal antigen sampling. Given that airway secretory cells can be stimulated to make mucous within hours, we suspect that both SAPs and GAPs are also used for luminal antigen sampling in the airway. This hypothesis is supported by our observation that secretory cells with airway SAPs are frequently juxtaposed to antigen presenting cells.
All data is included in the manuscript and generated custom scripts are included on https://github.com/vss11/Label-free-autofluorescence.
- Viral S Shah
- Charles P Lin
- Jayaraj Rajagopal
- Jayaraj Rajagopal
- Jayaraj Rajagopal
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Mice were maintained in accordance with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care-accredited animal facility at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). All procedures were performed with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)-approved protocols (#2009N000119). MGH is accredited by AAALAC International, has an assurance with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and is registered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Euthanasia was performed via house line CO2-mediated asphyxiation and confirmatory cervical dislocation consistent with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Paul W Noble, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, United States
© 2023, Shah et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Lateral partitioning of proteins and lipids shapes membrane function. In model membranes, partitioning can be influenced both by bilayer-intrinsic factors like molecular composition and by bilayer-extrinsic factors such as interactions with other membranes and solid supports. While cellular membranes can departition in response to bilayer-intrinsic or -extrinsic disruptions, the mechanisms by which they partition de novo are largely unknown. The plasma membrane of Mycobacterium smegmatis spatially and biochemically departitions in response to the fluidizing agent benzyl alcohol, then repartitions upon fluidizer washout. By screening for mutants that are sensitive to benzyl alcohol, we show that the bifunctional cell wall synthase PonA2 promotes membrane partitioning and cell growth during recovery from benzyl alcohol exposure. PonA2’s role in membrane repartitioning and regrowth depends solely on its conserved transglycosylase domain. Active cell wall polymerization promotes de novo membrane partitioning and the completed cell wall polymer helps to maintain membrane partitioning. Our work highlights the complexity of membrane–cell wall interactions and establishes a facile model system for departitioning and repartitioning cellular membranes.
mTORC1 senses nutrients and growth factors and phosphorylates downstream targets, including the transcription factor TFEB, to coordinate metabolic supply and demand. These functions position mTORC1 as a central controller of cellular homeostasis, but the behavior of this system in individual cells has not been well characterized. Here, we provide measurements necessary to refine quantitative models for mTORC1 as a metabolic controller. We developed a series of fluorescent protein-TFEB fusions and a multiplexed immunofluorescence approach to investigate how combinations of stimuli jointly regulate mTORC1 signaling at the single-cell level. Live imaging of individual MCF10A cells confirmed that mTORC1-TFEB signaling responds continuously to individual, sequential, or simultaneous treatment with amino acids and the growth factor insulin. Under physiologically relevant concentrations of amino acids, we observe correlated fluctuations in TFEB, AMPK, and AKT signaling that indicate continuous activity adjustments to nutrient availability. Using partial least squares regression modeling, we show that these continuous gradations are connected to protein synthesis rate via a distributed network of mTORC1 effectors, providing quantitative support for the qualitative model of mTORC1 as a homeostatic controller and clarifying its functional behavior within individual cells.