Culturing MDCK cells in three dimensions for analyzing intracellular dynamics

Natalie Elia, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Epithelial cells grown in three-dimensional (3-D) cultures of extracellular matrix differentiate into a multicellular structure of polarized cells. This process shares many characteristics with the physiological development of an epithelial tissue and the formation of polarity in epithelial cells. Imaging 3-D cultures of polarized epithelial cells is therefore a powerful tool to study epithelial architecture and morphogenesis under close-to-physiological conditions. The new generation of confocal microscopes allows live-cell imaging of fluorescently tagged molecules in these cultures. This opens up new opportunities for studying how molecules behave and are distinguished asymmetrically within a 3-D setting. This unit discusses technical aspects for culturing and imaging MDCK 3-D culture for both fixed 3-D cultures and live-cell imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4.22.1-4.22.18
JournalCurrent Protocols in Cell Biology
Issue numberSUPPL. 43
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-D culture imaging
  • 3-D cultures
  • Epithelial cyst
  • Live-cell imaging
  • MDCK cells
  • MDCK cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Culturing MDCK cells in three dimensions for analyzing intracellular dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this