Cell Stress and Chaperones

, 16:549 | Cite as

Multiphoton ANS fluorescence microscopy as an in vivo sensor for protein misfolding stress

  • Kevin C. Hadley
  • Michael J. Borrelli
  • James R. Lepock
  • JoAnne McLaurin
  • Sidney E. Croul
  • Abhijit Guha
  • Avijit Chakrabartty
Original Paper


The inability of cells to maintain protein folding homeostasis is implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, malignant transformation, and aging. We find that multiphoton fluorescence imaging of 1-anilinonaphthalene-8-sulfonate (ANS) can be used to assess cellular responses to protein misfolding stresses. ANS is relatively nontoxic and enters live cells and cells or tissues fixed in formalin. In an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease, ANS fluorescence imaging of brain tissue sections reveals the binding of ANS to fibrillar deposits of amyloid peptide (Aβ) in amyloid plaques and in cerebrovascular amyloid. ANS imaging also highlights non-amyloid deposits of glial fibrillary acidic protein in brain tumors. Cultured cells under normal growth conditions possess a number of ANS-binding structures. High levels of ANS fluorescence are associated with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi, and lysosomes—regions of protein folding and degradation. Nuclei are virtually devoid of ANS binding sites. Additional ANS binding is triggered by hyperthermia, thermal lesioning, proteasome inhibition, and induction of ER stress. We also use multiphoton imaging of ANS binding to follow the in vivo recovery of cells from protein-damaging insults over time. We find that ANS fluorescence tracks with the binding of the molecular chaperone Hsp70 in compartments where Hsp70 is present. ANS highlights the sensitivity of specific cellular targets, including the nucleus and particularly the nucleolus, to thermal stress and proteasome inhibition. Multiphoton imaging of ANS binding should be a useful probe for monitoring protein misfolding stress in cells.


Protein homeostasis Intracellular protein folding Chaperones Hsp70 

Supplementary material

12192_2011_266_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4 mb)
ESM 1Figures (PDF 4,145 kb)


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin C. Hadley
    • 1
  • Michael J. Borrelli
    • 2
  • James R. Lepock
    • 1
  • JoAnne McLaurin
    • 3
  • Sidney E. Croul
    • 4
  • Abhijit Guha
    • 5
  • Avijit Chakrabartty
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Medical BiophysicsUniversity of Toronto. Ontario Cancer InstituteTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative DiseasesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathobiologyUniversity of Toronto, UHN Path 11E426 Toronto General HospitalTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour CentreHospital for Sick Children’s Research InstituteTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario Cancer InstituteUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Department of Medical BiophysicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  9. 9.TorontoCanada

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