Quantification of very low-abundant proteins in bacteria using the HaloTag and epi-fluorescence microscopy

Alessia Lepore, Hannah Taylor, Dirk Landgraf, Burak Okumus, Sebastián Jaramillo-Riveri, Lorna McLaren, Somenath Bakshi, Paulsson Johan, Meriem El Karoui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell biology is increasingly dependent on quantitative methods resulting in the need for microscopic labelling technologies that are highly sensitive and specific.Whilst the use of fluorescent proteins has led to major advances, they also suffer from their relatively low brightness and photo-stability, making the detection of very low abundance proteins using fluorescent protein-based methods challenging. Here, we characterize the use of the self-labelling protein tag called HaloTag, in conjunction with an organic fluorescent dye, to label and accurately count endogenous proteins present in very low numbers (<7) in individual Escherichia coli cells. This procedure can be used to detect single molecules in fixed cells with conventional epifluorescence illumination and a standard microscope. We show that the detection efficiency of proteins labelled with theHaloTag is ≥80%, which is on par or better than previous techniques. Therefore,this method offers a simple and attractive alternative to current procedures to detect low abundance molecules.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7902
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019


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