Read our blog post on "Future-Proofing FCS files" that explores this topic.
The annotation process in Cytobank is designed to take advantage of any labels specified during data collection. These labels can also be useful when sharing, searching or communicating this data (whether you are in Cytobank or through other means).
We recommend the following annotation or labeling strategy:
Labeling parameters (or channels): Label each fluorescence parameter with the name of the antibody specificity.
Note: The phospho-protein should be specifically identified by the parameter label (for example, p-ERK-Alexa Fluor 647, not p-protein-Alexa Fluor 647).
Specimen (or Tube) labels: Label each specimen and tube with text indicating how it is unique within the experiment. Labels should be at least three characters long and should include enough experimental information to uniquely identify each tube.
Include one or more of the following:
Condition: Stimuli and inhibitors represent different conditions (eg, IL-2, IL-6, PMA, inhibitor14, drug35). Growth mediums and states of cells (eg, fresh cells, frozen cells) also represent conditions.
Timepoint: Timepoints are specified durations used in the experiment. Most commonly, these are times that samples were allowed to signal before being fixed (eg, 30 s, 5 min, 4 h).
Dose: Dosage titrations are various specified concentrations used in the experiment (eg, 0.1 ng/mL, 10 ng/mL).
Individual: Individuals can be different donors or animals (eg, donor3, BALB/c5).
Sample (specimen) type: Types can include major classifications of the samples tested (eg, wild type vs knock out, tumor vs normal, cell lines vs whole blood, spleen, or lymph node).
A good example of a tube label: 01 healthy whole blood donor1 IL-2 10 ng-mL 15 min