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PLoS One. 2009 Sep 18;4(9):e7064. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007064.

Cell cycle-related cyclin b1 quantification.

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  • 1Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



To obtain non-relative measures of cell proteins, purified preparations of the same proteins are used as standards in Western blots. We have previously quantified SV40 large T antigen expressed over a several fold range in different cell lines and correlated the average number of molecules to average fluorescence obtained by cytometry and determined cell cycle phase related expression by calculation from multi-parametric cytometry data. Using a modified approach, we report quantification of endogenous cyclin B1 and generation of the cell cycle time related expression profile.


Recombinant cyclin B1 was purified from a baculovirus lysate using an antibody affinity column and concentrated. We created fixed cell preparations from nocodazole-treated (high cyclin B1) and serum starved (low cyclin B1) PC3 cells that were either lyophilized (for preservation) or solubilized. The lysates and purified cyclin B1 were subjected to Western blotting; the cell preparations were subjected to cytometry, and fluorescence was correlated to molecules. Three untreated cell lines (K562, HeLa, and RKO) were prepared for cytometry without lyophilization and also prepared for Western blotting. These were quantified by Western blotting and by cytometry using the standard cell preparations.


The standard cell preparations had 1.5 x 10(5) to 2.5 x 10(6) molecules of cyclin B1 per cell on average (i.e., 16-fold range). The average coefficient of variation was 24%. Fluorescence varied 12-fold. The relationship between molecules/cell (Western blot) and immunofluorescence (cytometry) was linear (r(2) = 0.87). Average cyclin B1 levels for the three untreated cell lines determined by Western blotting and cytometry agreed within a factor of 2. The non-linear rise in cyclin B1 in S phase was quantified from correlated plots of cyclin B1 and DNA content. The peak levels achieved in G2 were similar despite differences in lineage, growth conditions, and rates of increase through the cell cycle (range: 1.6-2.2 x 10(6) molecules per cell).


Net cyclin B1 expression begins in G1 in human somatic cells lines; increases non-linearly with variation in rates of accumulation, but peaks at similar peak values in different cell lines growing under different conditions. This suggests tight quantitative end point control.

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