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Methods. 2007 Feb;41(2):143-50.

Analysis of cell cycle phases and progression in cultured mammalian cells.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, and Center for Genomics and Proteomics, Brown University, 70 Ship Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis has become a standard tool to analyze cell cycle distributions in populations of cells. These methods require relatively large numbers of cells, and do not provide optimal resolution of the transitions between cell cycle phases. In this report we describe in detail complementary methods that utilize the incorporation of nucleotide analogs combined with microscopic examination. While often more time consuming, these protocols typically require far fewer cells, and allow accurate kinetic assessment of cell cycle progression. We also describe the use of a technique for the synchronization of adherent cells in mitosis by simple mechanical agitation (mitotic shake-off) that eliminates physiological perturbation associated with drug treatments.

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