Apoptosis was monitored in intact insulin-producing cells both with microfluorometry and with two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM), using a fluorescent protein based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). TPLSM offers three-dimensional spatial information that can be obtained relatively deep in tissues. This provides a potential for future in vivo studies of apoptosis. The cells expressed a fluorescent protein (C-DEVD-Y) consisting of two fluorophores, enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP) and enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP), linked by the amino acid sequence DEVD selectively cleaved by caspase-3-like proteases. FRET between ECFP and EYFP in C-DEVD-Y could therefore be monitored on-line as a sensor of caspase-3 activation. The relevance of using caspase-3 activation to indicate β-cell apoptosis was demonstrated by inhibiting caspase-3-like proteases with Z-DEVD-fmk and thereby showing that caspase-3 activation was needed for high-glucose- and cytokine-induced apoptosis in the β-cell and for staurosporine-induced apoptosis in RINm5F cells. In intact RINm5F cells expressing C-DEVD-Y and in MIN6 cells expressing the variant C-DEVD-Y2, FRET was lost at 155 ± 23 min (n = 9) and 257 ± 59 min (n = 4; mean ± SE) after activation of apoptosis with staurosporine (6 μmol/l), showing that this method worked in insulin-producing cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism