Areas of activity

The main activity of the Unit is the analysis through flow cytometry and cell sorting thechniques. Therefore, we are able to detect the presence of molecules of interests by immunofluorescence techniques, fluorescent sensors, and fluorescent proteins fusion in fixed particles and living cells; this enables us to study cell dynamic processes. Another activity of the Unit is cell separation by sorting, which allows rapid and easy isolation of specific cell populations for their subsequent culture, genomic and proteomic study

Flow Cytometry Analysis

Cytometry uses one or more laser beams as excitation source. The beams enter into a biological particle that passes through the interrogation point. It allows to obtain rapidly and quantitatively the simultaneous measurement of multiple parameters of each biological particle. This system provides information about the complexity and size of the particle. Also, if the particle has been marked with fluorochromes, we can obtain additional information about the metabolic activity, DNA content, and presence of intra-and extra-cellular markers.

The sensibility of the state-of-the-art equipment of the Unit enables the detection of extremely rare cell populations, such as Stem cells, dendritic cells, antigen specific T-cells, or genetic transfections. In our Center, the most traditional applications of cytometry are based on cellular differentiation, immunology, and pathology, working with primary cells and cellular lines; the work of the Center is also based on the detection of reporter gene expression such as GFP, allowing the monitoring of gene transfection and the efficiency in protein expression levels. It also enables the user to perform assays which provide information about molecular interactions, protein structure, and DNA sequence. This technique allows to detect the binding of proteins to a target molecule in vitro, as well as to know the modulation of a signal of intracellular translation or identify specific proteins with binding, enzymatic activity, and protein expression level.

Although the research lines of GENYO are focused on clinical application and biomedical basic research, it is also possible to use cytometry technique in other fields such as environment where cytology is used for the study of unicellular organisms, in situ toxicity, or genomic analysis of cells of superior or inferior organisms.

Cell Sorting

Cell separation by flow cytometry or “Cell Sorting” is a process for the physical separation of particles based on the differential expression of one or several parameters analyzed by analytical flow cytometry. It should be emphasized the great potential of multiparametric analysis in the identification of highly specific populations. Separation of cells or homogeneous cell populations are performed for subsequent biochemical, molecular, or cell differentiation assays of populations of interests; to that, sophisticated flow cytometry equipment, called cell sorter, is required. Cell Sorters are characterized by the capacity to obtain a high percentage of selected particles in the collection tube, from the total number of particles activated by the sorter, with a high purity, that is the percentage of sorted particles collected meeting the selected criteria according to the total particles analyzed. The cells exhibiting a special activity can be collected in a tube, plates, or microscope slides, with a purity of almost 99%. These particles preserve their features, including cell viability, to be used in subsequent studies.

Particles separation or isolation can be very valuable in the isolation of specific cell populations in aseptic conditions to:

  • Their subsequent expansion and enrichment in culture.
  • Their use in functional assays.
  • Use the separated cells in animals or patients transplants.
  • Separate X- from Y sperm for sex selection.
  • Separate yeast, bacteria, or phytoplankton.
  • Selection and separation of subcellular organelles.
  • Isolate specific chromosomes, which is today the only technique offering the possibility to isolate in the practice a large number of chromosomes.
  • Isolate a sufficient number of cell populations for genomic analysis (microarrays).
  • Isolate unique cells for cloning in individual well-plates or for PCR analysis.