High-throughput measurement of dictyostelium discoideum macropinocytosis by flow cytometry

Thomas Williams (Lead / Corresponding author), Robert R. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Large-scale non-specific fluid uptake by macropinocytosis is important for the proliferation of certain cancer cells, antigen sampling, host cell invasion and the spread of neurodegenerative diseases. The commonly used laboratory strains of the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum have extremely high fluid uptake rates when grown in nutrient medium, over 90% of which is due to macropinocytosis. In addition, many of the known core components of mammalian macropinocytosis are also present, making it an excellent model system for studying macropinocytosis. Here, the standard technique to measure internalized fluid using fluorescent dextran as a label is adapted to a 96-well plate format, with the samples analyzed by flow cytometry using a high-throughput sampling (HTS) attachment. Cells are fed non-quenchable fluorescent dextran for a pre-determined length of time, washed by immersion in ice-cold buffer and detached using 5 mM sodium azide, which also stops exocytosis. Cells in each well are then analyzed by flow cytometry. The method can also be adapted to measure membrane uptake and phagocytosis of fluorescent beads or bacteria. This method was designed to allow measurement of fluid uptake by Dictyostelium in a high-throughput, labor and resource efficient manner. It allows simultaneous comparison of multiple strains (e.g. knockout mutants of a gene) and conditions (e.g. cells in different media or treated with different concentrations of inhibitor) in parallel and simplifies time-courses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58434
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number139
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2018


  • Biology
  • Dictyostelium discoideum
  • Endocytosis
  • Flow cytometry
  • Fluid uptake
  • High-throughput
  • Issue 139
  • Macropinocytosis
  • Single-cell resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'High-throughput measurement of dictyostelium discoideum macropinocytosis by flow cytometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this