Abstract

Fluorescence confocal microscopy is commonly used to analyze the regulation membrane proteins expression such as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). With this approach, the internal movement of GPCRs within the cell can be observed with a high degree of resolution. However, these microscopy techniques led to complex and time-consuming analysis and did not allow a large population of events to be sampled. A recent approach termed imaging flow cytometry (IFC), which combines flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy, had two main advantages to study the regulation of GPCRs expression such as orexins receptors (OXRs): the ability (1) to analyze large numbers of cells and; (2) to visualize cell integrity and fluorescent markers localization. Here, we compare these two technologies using the orexin A (OxA) ligand coupled to rhodamine (OxA-rho) to investigate anti-tumoral OX1R expression in human digestive cancers. IFC has been adapted for cancer epithelial adherent cells and also to 3D cell culture tumoroids which partially mimic tumoral structures. In the absence of specific antibody, expression of OX1R is examined in the presence of OxA-rho. 2D-culture of colon cancer cells HT-29 exhibits a maximum level of OX1R internalization induced by OxA with 19% ± 3% colocalizing to early endosomes. In 3D-culture of HT-29 cells, internalization of OX1R/OxA-rho reached its maximum at 60 min, with 30.7% ± 6.4% of OX1R colocalizing with early endosomes. This is the first application of IFC to the analysis of the expression of a native GPCR, OX1R, in both 2D and 3D cultures of adherent cancer cells.

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