Four Colour Analysis on the FACSort

The FACSort has recently been upgraded to allow four colour analysis. This is possible through the addition of a second (red) diode laser and a new detector to allow the use of allophycocyanin (APC) conjugates in addition to the usual 3 colours. We have so far had successful 4 colour analyses using, for example, the following combinations:

FL1 = Intracellular cytokine staining with eg. anti-IL2-FITC (home-made)
FL2 = "Naive" T-cells staining with anti-CD45RB-PE (Sigma)
FL3 = "Memory/activated T-cell staining with anti-PgP-1(CD44)-Quantum Red (a PE-Cy5 tandem dye from Sigma)
FL4 = "Helper" T-cell subset with anti-CD4-biotin followed by Streptavidin-Allophycocyanin (SA-APC from Pharmingen)

FL1 = "MLS-reactive" T cell receptor subset staining with anti-Vbeta6-FITC (home-made)
FL2 = "Helper" T-cells staining with anti-CD4-PE (Sigma)
FL3 = "Cytotoxic" T-cells staining with anti-CD8-Quantum Red (Sigma)
FL4 = Cytokine receptor (anti-CD25 or anti-IL4R) biotin conjugates (home-made) followed by SA-APC

Although the Cy5 in Quantum Red and also the APC are both excited by the red diode laser, the two signals are distinguished in time. In practice this means that as long as the time delay calibration is first correctly set up (we use CD4-biotin plus SA-APC labelled and fixed thymocytes for this - which is then automatically performed by the computer with an option from the Cytometer menu of CellQuest), then compensation of FL3-4% and FL4-3% is performed using single stained samples in an identical fashion to 3 colour compensation for FL1,2 and 3 (except you perform the adjustments from CellQuest as the FACSort has no front panel).

Here are some example instrument settings (for guidance only):

Detector      Voltage      AmpGain      Mode

FSC           E00          3.28         Lin
SSC           288          1.00         Log
FL1           700          1.00         Log
FL2           550          1.00         Log
FL3           600          1.00         Log
FL4           785          1.00         Log

Threshold (FSC) = 144

FL1 - 1.5%  FL2
FL2 - 16.0% FL1
FL2 - 0.7%  FL3
FL3 - 9.8%  FL2
FL3 - 30.8% FL4
FL4 - 53.9% FL3

Note in this example that FL4 is set high to allow detection of weak FL4 fluorescence (eg IL4-R) so this is why FL3/FL4 compensation values are also high.

If you want to analyse lymphocytes and start with my standard intrument settings then aquiring 4 colour data should be as painless as single colour. (Mind you, sorting out what all the data means can be more tricky)!

Click here to see an example four colour cytokine staining of spleen cells (gated on Vbeta6-biotin/SAv-APC positive or negative and CD4-PE positive, and showing CD44-QR vs. anti-IFN-gamma-FITC).

NB. I have heard from more than one source that attempts to use this 4 colour system on machines other than upgraded FACSorts or FACSCaliburs (eg. FACSVantage) have been much more problematic.

More info soon but in the meantime please see Steve Cobbold for further details.

This page constructed using an Acorn RISC PC by last updated 30.4.97.