8. Analyzing Cells, Molecules and Systems
ISOLATING CELLS AND GROWING THEM IN CULTURE
- The first step in isolating individual cells is to disrupt the extracellular matrix and cell–
cell junctions. A tissue sample can be treated with proteolytic enzymes to digest
proteins in the extracellular matrix and with agents that chelate Ca2+ on which cell–cell
- Fluorescence-activated cell sorter is one of the most sophisticated cell-separation
techniques that use an antibody coupled to a fluorescent dye to label specific cells and
separate them from the others. The antibody chosen recognizes an epitope present
on the surface of a specific type of cell.
- Primary cultures are prepared directly from the tissues of an organism – these cells
eventually die due to a process called replicative cell senescence.
- Immortalized cell lines can be cultures indefinitely. These are transformed cells that
were modified to induce activity of the telomerase and/or to express certain cancer-
- Monoclonal antibodies are produced by a certain type of transformed cancer cell called
hybridoma. These antibodies are used to detect and purify cellular proteins, as well as
to diagnose and treat diseases.