Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2014 Jun 2;2014(6):591-601. Epub 2014 Jun 2.
Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.
Cell death is integral to developmental and disease processes, and high-throughput screening (HTS) has been instrumental both for understanding biological mechanisms underlying cell death and for discovering novel therapeutic agents targeting these pathways. The various cell death modalities and their distinctive morphological and biochemical features have led to the development of a staggering variety of assays to measure these features, many of which have been adapted to HTS format. Although not all cell death assays are readily amenable to a high-throughput format, the potential power of HTS assays and increasing accessibility to associated technology make it likely that new approaches will continue to emerge. In particular, many recent studies in this field have used multiplex assays and high-content imaging to measure several features concurrently. Here, we discuss a broad array of considerations for designing HTS cell death assays, including some common challenges and pitfalls. We aim to provide a framework for deciding the most appropriate biological readouts, assay strategy and mode, workflow, controls, validation, and bioinformatics.