Live cell imaging and analysis of lipid droplets biogenesis in hepatatis C virus infected cells

Inbar Nevo-Yassaf, Marcos Lovelle, Yaakov Nahmias, Koret Hirschberg*, Ella H. Sklan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipid droplets (LDs) are regulated neutral lipid storage organelles having a central role in numerous cellular processes as well as in various pathologies such as metabolic disorders, immune responses and during pathogen infection. Due to the growing significance of LDs, extensive efforts are made to study the mechanism and the dynamics of their formation and life history and how are these diverted or modified by pathogens. Real-time visualization of lipid droplet biogenesis can assist in clarifying these and other important issues and may have implications towards understanding the pathogenesis of the associated diseases. Typically, LDs are post-experimentally stained using lipophilic dyes and are visualized under a microscope. Alternatively, overexpression of LD-associated proteins or immunofluorescence analyses are used to identify and follow LDs. These experimental approaches only examine a single end point of the experiment and cannot answer questions regarding LD dynamics. Here, we describe a simple and novel experimental setting that allows real-time fluorescence staining and detection of LDs in cultured living as well as infected cells. This method is quick and simple and is not restricted to a specific dye or cell line. Using this system, the biogenesis of LDs and their growth is demonstrated in cells infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), confirming the strength of this method and the wide range of its applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2017


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Lipid droplets
  • Lipophilic dye
  • Nile red
  • Oil red O


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