Background: An imprecise quantitative sense for the oscillating levels of proteins and their modifications, interactions, and translocations as a function of the cell cycle is fundamentally important for a cartoon/narrative understanding for how the cell cycle works. Mathematical modeling of the same cartoon/narrative models would be greatly enhanced by an open-ended methodology providing precise quantification of many proteins and their modifications, etc. Here we present methodology that fulfills these features. Methodology: Multiparametric flow cytometry was performed on Molt4 cells to measure cyclins A2 and B1, phospho-S10-histone H3, DNA content, and light scatter (cell size). The resulting 5 dimensional data were analyzed as a series of bivariate plots to isolate the data as segments of an N-dimensional "worm" through the data space. Sequential, unidirectional regions of the data were used to assemble expression profiles for each parameter as a function of cell frequency. Results: Analysis of synthesized data in which the true values where known validated the approach. Triplicate experiments demonstrated exceptional reproducibility. Comparison of three triplicate experiments stained by two methods (single cyclin or dual cyclin measurements with common DNA and phospho-histone H3 measurements) supported the feasibility of combining an unlimited number of epitopes through this methodology. The sequential degradations of cyclin A2 followed by cyclin B1 followed by de-phosphorylation of histone H3 were precisely mapped. Finally, a two phase expression rate during interphase for each cyclin was robustly identified. Conclusions: Very precise, correlated expression profiles for important cell cycle regulating and regulated proteins and their modifications can be produced, limited only by the number of available high-quality antibodies. These profiles can be assembled into large information libraries for calibration and validation of mathematical models.
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