Analyzing cellular internalization of nanoparticles and bacteria by multi-spectral imaging flow cytometry

Yashdeep Phanse, Amanda E. Ramer-Tait, Sherree L. Friend, Brenda Carrillo-Conde, Paul Lueth, Carrie J. Oster, Gregory J. Phillips, Balaji Narasimhan, Michael J. Wannemuehler, Bryan H. Bellaire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Nano particulate systems have emerged as valuable tools in vaccine delivery through their ability to efficiently deliver cargo, including proteins, to antigen presenting cells1-5. Internalization of nano particles (NP) by antigen presenting cells is a critical step in generating an effective immune response to the encapsulated antigen. To determine how changes in nano particle formulation impact function, we sought to develop a high throughput, quantitative experimental protocol that was compatible with detecting internalized nano particles as well as bacteria. To date, two independent techniques, microscopy and flow cytometry, have been the methods used to study the phago cytosis of nanoparticles. The high throughput nature of flow cyto metry generates robust statistical data. However, due to low resolution, it fails to accurately quantify internalized versus cell bound nano particles. Microscopy generates images with high spatial resolution; however, it is time consuming and involves small sample sizes6-8. Multi-spectral imaging flow cytometry (MIFC) is a new technology that incorporates aspects of both microscopy and flow cytometry that performs multi-color spectral fluorescence and bright field imaging simultaneously through a laminar core. This capability provides an accurate analysis of fluorescent signal intensities and spatial relationships between different structures and cellular features at high speed. Herein, we describe a method utilizing MIFC to characterize the cell populations that have internalized polyanhydride nanoparticles or Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We also describe the preparation of nanoparticle suspensions, cell labeling, acquisition on an ImageStreamX system and analysis of the data using the IDEAS application. We also demonstrate the application of a technique that can be used to differentiate the internalization pathways for nanoparticles and bacteria by using cytochalasin-D as an inhibitor of actin-mediated phagocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA48
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number64
StatePublished - Jun 8 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • Bioengineering
  • Flow cytometry
  • Imagestream
  • Imaging
  • Issue 64
  • Microbiology
  • Multi-spectral imaging
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pathogen
  • Phagocytosis
  • Salmonella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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