Fixing cells

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This can work well for fixing of mammalian cells in preparation for immunolabeling and microscopy. Depending on the epitope, different fixatives may be required; membrane-bound epitopes may do better without permeabilization. On the other hand, some antibodies are only able to recognize a protein epitope in its native form and will only work on frozen tissues because formaldehyde cross-linking denatures the protein.


-Fixation Solution: 4% Formaldehyde in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) solution, pH 7.4 - 7.6 (verify)

-Permeabilization Solution: 0.1% Triton X-100 in PBS


1) For fixation, incubate cells in Formaldehyde Solution for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.

2) For permeabilization, remove Formaldehyde Solution, and incubate cells in Permeabilization Solution for 5 minutes at room temperature.

3) Rinse in PBS before proceeding.

For further information about fixing cells, see Immunocytochemistry.

External Links

Acetone Fixation protocol