An Imaging Flow Cytometry-based approach to analyse the fission yeast cell cycle in fixed cells
Authors listJames O Patterson Matthew Swaffer Andrew Filby
Fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) is an excellent model organism for studying eukaryotic cell division because many of the underlying principles and key regulators of cell cycle biology are conserved from yeast to humans. As such it can be employed as tool for understanding complex human diseases that arise from dis-regulation in cell cycle controls, including cancers. Conventional Flow Cytometry (CFC) is a high-throughput, multi-parameter, fluorescence-based single cell analysis technology. It is widely used for studying the mammalian cell cycle both in the context of the normal and disease states by measuring changes in DNA content during the transition through G1, S and G2/M using fluorescent DNA-binding dyes. Unfortunately analysis of the fission yeast cell cycle by CFC is not straightforward because, unlike mammalian cells, cytokinesis occurs after S-phase meaning that bi-nucleated G1 cells have the same DNA content as mono-nucleated G2 cells and cannot be distinguished using total integrated fluorescence (pulse area). It has been elegantly shown that the width of the DNA pulse can be used to distinguish G2 cells with a single 2C foci versus G1 cells with two 1C foci, however the accuracy of this measurement is dependent on the orientation of the cell as it traverses the laser beam. To this end we sought to improve the accuracy of the fission yeast cell cycle analysis and have developed an Imaging Flow Cytometry (IFC)-based method that is able to preserve the high throughput, objective analysis afforded by CFC in combination with the spatial and morphometric information provide by microscopy. We have been able to derive an analysis framework for subdividing the yeast cell cycle that is based on intensiometric and morphometric measurements and is thus robust against orientation-based miss-classification. In addition we can employ image-based metrics to define populations of septated/bi-nucleated cells and measure cellular dimensions. To our knowledge, this is the first use of IFC to study fission yeast and we are confident that this will provide a springboard for further IFC-based analysis across all aspects of fission yeast biology.