Multiplex IP-FCM (immunoprecipitation-flow cytometry): Principles and guidelines for assessing physiologic protein-protein interactions in multiprotein complexes

Methods. 2012 Feb;56(2):154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 16.


There is significant interest in the development of methods with the potential to increase access to 'the interactome' for both experimental and clinical applications. Immunoprecipitation detected by flow cytometry (IP-FCM) is a robust, biochemical method that can be used for measuring physiologic protein-protein interactions (PPI) in multiprotein complexes (MPC) with high sensitivity. Because it is based on antibody-mediated capture of protein complexes onto microspheres, IP-FCM is potentially compatible with a multiplex platform that could allow simultaneous assessment of many physiologic PPI. Here, we consider the principles of ambient analyte conditions (AAC) and inter-bead independence, and provide a template set of experiments showing how to convert singleplex IP-FCM to multiplex IP-FCM, including assays to confirm the validity of the experimental conditions for data acquisition. We conclude that singleplex IP-FCM can be successfully upgraded to multiplex format, and propose that the unique strengths of multiplex IP-FCM make it a method that is likely to facilitate the acquisition of new PPI data from primary cell sources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / chemistry
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry / standards
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Immunoprecipitation / methods*
  • Immunoprecipitation / standards
  • Mice
  • Microspheres
  • Multiprotein Complexes / analysis*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry
  • Multiprotein Complexes / physiology
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / standards
  • Protein Stability
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / chemistry*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Titrimetry


  • Antibodies
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell