Raman microspectroscopy detects epigenetic modifications in living Jurkat leukemic cells

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Abstract

Aims:

Classical biochemical and molecular methods for discerning cells with epigenetic modifications are often biologically perturbing or even destructive. We wondered whether the noninvasive laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy technique allowed the discrimination of single living human cells undergoing epigenetic modifications.

Materials & methods:

Human Jurkat leukemic cells were treated with inhibitors of histone deacetylases (trichostatin A and MS-275). Epigenetic changes were monitored through histone electrophoresis, nuclear image cytometry and laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy.

Results:

Treatment of Jurkat cells with histone deacetylase inhibitors increased histone acetylation and induced chromatin organization changes. Characteristic vibrations, issued from laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy analyses, mostly assigned to DNA and proteins allowed discerning histone deacetylase inhibitor-treated cells from control with high confidence. Statistical processing of laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy data led to the definition of specific biomolecular fingerprints of each cell group.

Conclusion:

This original study shows that laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy is a label-free rapid tool to identify living cells that underwent epigenetic changes.

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