DAPI Staining and DNA Content Estimation of Nuclei in Uncultivable Microbial Eukaryotes (Arcellinida and Ciliates)

Ketty Munyenyembe, Smith College
Caitlin Timmons, Smith College
Agnes K.M. Weiner, Smith College
Laura A. Katz
Ying Yan, Smith College

Link to Open Manuscript Version


Though representing a major component of eukaryotic biodiversity, many microbial eukaryotes remain poorly studied, including the focus of the present work, testate amoebae of the order Arcellinida (Amoebozoa) and non-model lineages of ciliates (Alveolata). In particular, knowledge of genome structures and changes in genome content over the often-complex life cycles of these lineages remains enigmatic. However, the limited available knowledge suggests that microbial eukaryotes have the potential to challenge our textbook views on eukaryotic genomes and genome evolution. In this study, we developed protocols for DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining of Arcellinida nuclei and adapted protocols for ciliates. In addition, image analysis software was used to estimate the DNA content in the nuclei of Arcellinida and ciliates, and the measurements of target organisms were compared to those of well-known model organisms. The results demonstrate that the methods we have developed for nuclear staining in these lineages are effective and can be applied to other microbial eukaryotic groups by adjusting certain stages in the protocols.