山形大学紀要（医学） 第35巻 第2号（2017）21-32
Analysis of signal transducers using flow cytometry is useful
for detection of contractive and fluctuating signals
Yuji Takeda, Hidetoshi Nara, Hironobu Asao
Investigation of signal transduction mechanisms is important for development of therapy and
understanding complex life systems. In this study, to establish a novel recognition method of signal
transduction pathways, we investigated signal transducers using flow cytometry.
The flow cytometric measurement shows a mean phosphorylation level (mean of fluorescence
intensity, MFI) and a deviation of the phosphorylation level (coefficient variation, CV) in a cluster of
cells. As a model of signal pathways, Jurkat cells (T cell leukemia cell line) were stimulated with
interleukin-21 or interferon-α, and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) and
extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 were measured using flow cytometry. Furthermore,
peripheral blood was stimulated, and then various signal transducers of the lymphocytes and
neutrophils were analyzed with MFI and CV.
After the stimulation, the increase of STATs MFI induced a temporal change of CV. On the other
hand, the decrease of ERK1/2 phosphorylation accompanied the sustained increase of CV. Finally, we
classified the signaling characters into five types using a combination of MFI and CV. These findings
contribute to an explanation of the known relationship between signal transducers and stimulants on
each cell subset. Therefore, this method may be useful to discover a causal relationship between
stimulants and signal transducers in complex systems.
Key words : complex system, flow cytometry, signal transduction
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