Shreffler:Jurkat Transfection

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We would like to use Jurkat cells as reporter cells to detect the production of retinoic acid by dendritic cells as part of the RA signaling project.


  • Neisha, please edit


Cell Preparation

1 million cells are used per transfection

  1. Spin Jurkat and 3T8 cells down, resuspend in 1 mL of RPMI medium with FCS
  2. Count cells ( 1 0μL of cells : 10 μL of Trypan = dilution of 2)
  3. Obtain 1 million cells per cell line and incubate overnight in 10 mls of RPMI medium in 25 cm3 flask
  4. Remember to keep a culture of cells for each cell type
  5. Count cells the following day ( 10 μL of cells : 10 μL of Trypan = dilution of 2), and proceed with transfection


  1. Determine how many conditions will be done, for the last transfection 4 were done
    • Jurkat w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.1 μg RXR/RAR
    • Jurkat w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.4 μg RXR/RAR
    • 3T8 w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.1 μg RXR/RAR
    • 3T8 w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.4 μg RXR/RAR
  2. This transfection was done with 4.5x105 cells per condition for the Jurkat and 3T8 T-cells
  3. The amount of plasmid was calculated then added into the cuvette along with the cells and the Amaxa kit solution N( 2 μg of RARE, 2 μg of Pcmv, 0.1 μg and 0.4 μg of RXR and RAR)
After the nucleofection was completed, cells were incubated overnight in a 6 well plate

Stimulation with RA

  1. The following day, the cells are spun down and counted. For the last transfection, there was variation in the number of cells that survived the nucelofection:
    • Jurkat w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.1 RXR/RAR = 3.18x105 cells
    • Jurkat w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.4 RXR/RAR = 4.95x105 cells
    • 3T8 w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.1 RXR/RAR = 2.81x105 cells
    • 3T8 w/ RARE, Pcmv, 0.4 RXR/RAR = 3.31x105 cells
  2. For stimulation, 1x105 cells were used per condition
    • 100nM RA
    • DMSO

Measuring Luciferase

  1. Transfer cells to 1.5 mL eppendorfs
  2. Spin cells down for 500 x g for 10 min
  3. Aspirate supernatants, then added 125 μL of PLB buffer, vortex
  4. Allow to shake at room temperature for 30 min
  5. Spin cells at 1400 x g for 2 min, leave supernatants
  6. Add 25 μL of substrate (LAR) and 5 μL of lysate (supernatants) and measure luciferase ( 14th floor)


discuss this protocol


  1. Lyons AB and Parish CR. Determination of lymphocyte division by flow cytometry. J Immunol Methods. 1994 May 2;171(1):131-7. DOI:10.1016/0022-1759(94)90236-4 | PubMed ID:8176234 | HubMed [Lyons]