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Female Rat Kangaroo Kidney Epithelial Cells (PtK1 Line)

The PtK1 cell line is thought to have been established earlier than any other permanent marsupial cell line. The line, which is popular for use in chromosome studies, was developed in the early 1960s from the kidney tissue of an adult female rat kangaroo (Potorous tridactylis).

PtK1 Cells

PtK1 cells exhibit epithelial morphology and stain positive for the intermediate filament protein keratin. Testing indicates that the cells are resistant to infection with poliovirus 2, but are susceptible to vesicular stomatitis (Indiana strain). The 11 chromosomes typically contained in PtK1 cells are relatively large and exhibit a distinct morphology.

Chromosomes are linear strands of DNA and associated proteins located in the nuclei of eukaryotic cells that enable the transmission of hereditary information. In prokaryotes, DNA is organized into a single circular chromosome. Chromosomes are self replicating, and during cell division they are generally tightly packed and readily visible with the aid of a microscope. The size of PtK1 chromosomes make them even easier to observe than the chromosomes of many other animals. As a result, the PtK1 line is widely utilized as a model of the mitotic process, as is the closely related PtK2 cell line, which was established from a male rat kangaroo.

Details of the vimentin intermediate filament network in a culture of PtK1 kidney epithelial cells (presented above) were visualized by treating the fixed and permeabilized culture with mouse anti-vimentin primary antibodies followed by goat anti-mouse secondary antibodies (IgG) conjugated to Texas Red-X. Cell nuclei were counterstained with SYTOX Green, a high-affinity nucleic acid probe. Images were recorded with a 60x oil immersion objective using a zoom factor of 1.5 and sequential scanning with the 488-nanometer spectral line of an argon-ion laser and the 543-nanometer line from a green helium-neon laser. During the processing stage, individual image channels were pseudocolored with RGB values corresponding to each of the fluorophore emission spectral profiles.

Contributing Authors

Nathan S. Claxton, Shannon H. Neaves, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.