Immunofluorescence staining of ciliated respiratory epithelial cells

Methods Cell Biol. 2009;91:123-33. doi: 10.1016/S0091-679X(08)91007-4. Epub 2009 Dec 1.


Respiratory epithelial cells carry multiple motile cilia. Defective ciliary motility results in reduced mucociliary airway clearance in a destructive chronic airway disease referred to as primary ciliary dyskinesia. Immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy of respiratory cells allows visualization of proteins along the length of the ciliary axoneme and distinct compartments such as the transition zone and the basal body region at the ciliary base. The advantages of the technique to localize proteins such as axonemal dynein motor components along the ciliary axoneme and their diagnostic potential are shown. Special emphasis is placed on methodological subtleties and quality controls to assure accurate IF analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonemal Dyneins / genetics
  • Axonemal Dyneins / metabolism
  • Cilia / ultrastructure*
  • Ciliary Motility Disorders / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kartagener Syndrome / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / cytology*


  • Axonemal Dyneins