Open Access

Establishing and functional characterization of an HEK-293 cell line expressing autofluorescently tagged β-actin (pEYFP-ACTIN) and the neurokinin type 1 receptor (NK1-R)

  • Alenka Hrovat1,
  • Apolonija Bedina Zavec2,
  • Azra Pogačnik1,
  • Robert Frangež3 and
  • Milka Vrecl1Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200915:55

DOI: 10.2478/s11658-009-0034-0

Received: 23 July 2009

Accepted: 8 October 2009

Published: 15 October 2009


This study focused on establishing and making a comprehensive functional characterization of an HEK-293-transfected cell line that would coexpress the enhanced yellow fluorescent protein-actin (pEYFP-actin) construct and the neurokinin type 1 receptor (NK1-R), which is a member of the seven transmembrane (7TM) receptor family. In the initial selection procedure, the cloning ring technique was used alone, but failed to yield clones with homogenous pEYFP-actin expression. Flow cytometry sorting (FCS) was subsequently used to enrich the pEYFP-actin-expressing subpopulation of cells. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), FCS and quantitative real-time reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were then employed to monitor the passage-dependent effects on transgene expression and to estimate the total β-actin/pEYFP-actin ratio. NK1-R was characterized via radioactive ligand binding and the second messenger assay. The suitability of the pEYFP-actin as a marker of endogenous actin was assessed by colocalizing pEYFP-actin with rhodamine-phalloidine-stained F-actin and by comparing receptor- and jasplakinolide-induced changes in the actin cytoskeleton organization. These experiments demonstrated that: i) both constructs expressed in the generated transfected cell line are functional; ii) the estimated pEYFP-actin: endogenous β-actin ratio is within the limits required for the functional integrity of the actin filaments; and iii) pEYFP-actin and rhodamine-phalloidine-stained F-actin structures colocalize and display comparable reorganization patterns in pharmacologically challenged cells.