nuclear staining

Nuclear staining refers to staining of cell nuclei only. Cultured cells are generally colorless and transparent, so they are often observed with a phase contrast microscope while alive. However, to clearly confirm the shape or location of cells, staining may be performed. While cytoplasmic dimensions vary, most cells only have one nucleus, thus nuclear staining is a basic operation for routine applications such as cell counting.
The nucleus contains a large amount of nucleic acid, so a reagent that binds to nucleic acids is used. Some dyes for nuclear staining can stain the nucleus of living cells while others require cells to be fixed and stained. When performing immunofluorescence staining of fixed cells, DAPI can be used as a nuclear stain. Propidium iodide (PI) is commonly used for measurement using a flow cytometer. Hoechst and SYTO® series dyes include a number of nuclear stains for live cells, but these stains may be toxic depending on the cell type, culture conditions, concentration of stain used, and the wavelength of light used for observation. The use of these nuclear stains should be validated in advance.

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