Fluorogenic detection of protein aggregates in live cells using the AggTag method

Kwan Ho Jung, Xin Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


Protein aggregation is a process that occurs through the self-assembly of misfolded proteins to form soluble oligomers and insoluble aggregates. While there has been significant interest in protein aggregation for neurodegenerative diseases, progress in this field of research has been limited by the lack of effective methods to detect and interrogate these species in live cells. To resolve this issue, we have developed a new imaging method named the AggTag to report on protein aggregation in live cells with fluorescence microscopy. The AggTag method utilizes a genetic fusion of a protein of interest (POI) to a protein tag to conjugate with the AggTag probe, which contains a fluorophore that turns on its fluorescence upon interaction with protein aggregates. Unlike the conventional methods, this method enables one to detect soluble misfolded oligomers that were previously invisible. Furthermore, the AggTag method has been applied for the simultaneous detection of co-aggregation between two different POIs by a dual-color and orthogonal tagging system. This chapter aims to provide step-by-step procedures of the AggTag method for researchers who intend to study aggregation of POIs in mammalian cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChemical Tools for Imaging, Manipulating, and Tracking Biological Systems
Subtitle of host publicationDiverse Methods for Optical Imaging and Conjugation
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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