Immunofluorescence imaging of the influenza virus M1 protein is dependent on the fixation method

J Virol Methods. 2009 Mar;156(1-2):162-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2008.10.020. Epub 2008 Dec 9.


The distribution of the matrix (M1) protein of influenza virus in infected cells was examined using immunostaining. The fixation method influenced strongly the immunofluorescence pattern of the M1 protein. The M1 protein was distributed uniformly in both the cytoplasm and in nuclei when cells that had been infected with virus were fixed with paraformaldehyde. In cells that had been fixed with methanol, however, nuclear dots of the M1 protein were clearly visible. The dots were evident at 8h post-inoculation. Up to 6h post-inoculation, only a diffuse distribution of the M1 protein was observed. The dots were co-localized with promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein, a major component of nuclear domain 10 (ND10), also called PML oncogenic domains (PODs) or PML-nuclear bodies (NBs). These results indicate that the nuclear dots of the M1 protein in cells that had been fixed with methanol are not artifacts of the fixation method. Furthermore, methanol fixation is preferred for localization of the influenza M1 protein in nuclei using immunostaining.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Fixatives / chemistry*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Formaldehyde / chemistry
  • Influenza A virus / chemistry*
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / analysis*


  • Fixatives
  • M1 protein, Influenza A virus
  • Polymers
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Formaldehyde
  • paraform
  • Methanol