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J Immunol Methods. 1996 Jun 21;193(2):199-206.

Time-resolved fluorometric assay for natural killer activity using target cells labelled with a fluorescence enhancing ligand.

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Wallac Biochemical Laboratory, Turku, Finland.


A time-resolved fluorometric assay for the measurement of natural killer cell activity against target cells labelled with the acetoxymethyl ester of the fluorescence enhancing ligand 2,2':6',2"-terpyridine-6,6"-dicarboxylic acid (TDA) is described. The hydrophobic esterified form of TDA (bis(acetoxymethyl) 2,2':6',2"-terpyridine-6,6"-dicarboxylate, BATDA) diffuses readily through the cell membrane of viable cells. BATDA is hydrolysed by intracellular esterases resulting in accumulation of membrane impermeable TDA inside the target cells. After incubation of labelled K-562 cells with effector cells the TDA released from lysed cells into the supernatant is chelated with Eu3+. The natural killer cell activity is then quantified by measuring the intense fluorescence of the EuTDA chelates formed. Target cells are rapidly labelled when incubated with BATDA, TDA is released from target cells faster than 51Cr, the spontaneous release permits a short-term release assay to be set up and the detection of EuTDA is fast (5 min/96 well plate). Furthermore, this non-radioactive method permits the use of complex culture media since, in contrast to methods based on prompt fluorometry, the problem with autofluorescence can be avoided by the use of time-resolved fluorometry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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