Intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) is a powerful method for identifying functionally distinct lymphocyte subsets, and for isolating these by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). Although transcriptomic analysis of cells sorted on the basis of ICS has many potential applications, this is rarely performed because of the difficulty in isolating intact RNA from cells processed using standard fixation and permeabilization buffers for ICS. To address this issue, we compared three buffers shown previously to preserve RNA in nonhematopoietic cells subjected to intracellular staining for their effects on RNA isolated from T lymphocytes processed for ICS. Our results showed that buffers containing the recombinant ribonuclease inhibitor RNasin or high molar concentrations of salt yielded intact RNA from fixed and permeabilized T cells. As proof of principle, we successfully used the buffer containing RNasin to isolate intact RNA from CD4 + T cells that were sorted by FACS on the basis of specific cytokine production, thus demonstrating the potential of this approach for coupling ICS with transcriptomic analysis.
- Intracellular cytokine staining
- RNA isolation
- T cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy