Immunofluorescent labelling of K-papovavirus antigens in glycol methacrylate embedded material: a method for studying infected cell populations by fluorescence microscopy and histological staining of adjacent sections

Stain Technol. 1982 Jul;57(4):197-205. doi: 10.3109/10520298209066709.


Trypsin and protease V (pronase) were studied for their ability to enhance immunofluorescent labelling of papovavirus antigens in glycol methacrylate embedded sections of organs infected with murine K-papovavirus. Treatment of Bouin's fixed sections with 0.4% trypsin for 30 minutes resulted in specific immunofluorescent staining equal to that seen in frozen sections and produced little if any loss of histological detail. Treatment with protease V resulted in less brilliant fluorescence and less satisfactory tissue preservation. Studies were then conducted to determine the fluorescence and less satisfactory tissue preservation. Studies were then conducted to determine the fixative which would produce brightest specific fluorescent antibody staining of papovavirus-infected cells while providing clearest definition of intranuclear inclusions and best morphological detail in histologically stained adjacent sections. Brightest immunofluorescence staining was accomplished on material fixed in 96% ethanol/1% glacial acetic acid or Bouin's solution. These fixatives also gave clear definition of intranuclear inclusions with histological stains and provided excellent morphological detail. Phosphate buffered paraformaldehyde/picric acid and 3.7% formalin gave less satisfactory fluorescence and obscured intranuclear inclusions in histological preparations. Sections fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde, 4% paraformaldehyde/1% glutaraldehyde, and 0.5 M p-toluenesulfonic acid were negative for specific fluorescence. Glycol methacrylate, used with proper fixation and trypsin pretreatment of sections, provides a useful embedding medium for immunofluorescent identification of virus-infected cells, and the 1.0-2.0 micron sections routinely obtainable with GMA permit study of individual infected cells by fluorescent antibody and histological staining of adjacent sections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique*
  • Methacrylates*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Papillomaviridae / immunology*
  • Polyomaviridae*
  • Staining and Labeling*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / immunology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / pathology*


  • Acrylates
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Methacrylates
  • hydroxyethyl methacrylate