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A quantitative FastFUCCI assay defines cell cycle dynamics at a single-cell level

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Koh, S-B 
Mascalchi, P 
Rodriguez, E 
Lin, Y 
Jodrell, DI 


The fluorescence ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) is a powerful tool for use in live cells but current FUCCI-based assays have limited throughput in terms of image processing and quantification. Here, we developed a lentiviral system that rapidly introduced FUCCI transgenes into cells by using an all-in-one expression cassette, FastFUCCI. The approach alleviated the need for sequential transduction and characterisation, improving labelling efficiency. We coupled the system to an automated imaging workflow capable of handling large datasets. The integrated assay enabled analyses of single-cell readouts at high spatiotemporal resolution. With the assay, we captured in detail the cell cycle alterations induced by antimitotic agents. We found that treated cells accumulated at G2 or M phase but eventually advanced through mitosis into the next interphase, where the majority of cell death occurred, irrespective of the preceding mitotic phenotype. Some cells appeared viable after mitotic slippage, and a fraction of them subsequently re-entered S phase. Accordingly, we found evidence that targeting the DNA replication origin activity sensitised cells to paclitaxel. In summary, we demonstrate the utility of the FastFUCCI assay for quantifying spatiotemporal dynamics and identify its potential in preclinical drug development.



automated microscopy, DNA replication origin, drug synergy, FUCCI, live-cell imaging, taxane

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Journal of Cell Science

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The Company of Biologists
Pancreatic Cancer UK (FutureLeaders)
Cancer Research UK (CB4270)
Pancreatic Cancer UK (FLF2015_03_Cambridge)
We acknowledge the support from the University of Cambridge, Cancer Research UK and Hutchison Whampoa Limited.