Why study the Cell Cycle?

The cell cycle is a series of growth and development steps which a cell undergoes during cell division. Comprised of a set of distinct phases, the cell cycle is a key drug discovery target and of significant importance for both cancer and regenerative medicine research. Indeed a dis-regulation of the cell cycle is a hallmark of cancer, and check point inhibitors and cyclin dependent kinases that regulate cell cycle are studied as strategies or targets for anti-cancer therapies. Cell cycle regulation is also believed to play a key role in the cell differentiation that is required to deliver on the promise of regenerative medicine. However, studying dynamic changes of the cell cycle can be challenging.

Conventional methods to study the cell cycle may be challenging, due to:

  • Capability to take only a single time-point or concatenated time-points, from only a small number of cells or from cells that are fixed or exhausted during the experiment
  • Inability to study the cell cycle over multiple cell divisions within the same cell
  • Combination of independent, non-integrated solutions for cell cycle labeling, data acquisition and analysis
  • Complex data analysis for evaluation of stages of the cell cycle
  • Limitations on variables or number of compounds to be studied due to lack of instrument throughput

Continuous imaging and analysis over time at microplate throughput, within a physiologically-relevant environment inside your incubator, enables the long-term, kinetic analysis of cell cycle dynamics. With the quantification of cell cycle progression within living cells, researchers can:

  • Study cell cycle dynamics continuously over time
  • Track individually identified phases of the cell cycle in individual cells
  • Reveal cell cycle progression within a physiologically-relevant context
  • Gain deeper insight into drug-induced effects on cell cycle regulation

With the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Assay, you can now quantify cell-cycle progression continuously over multiple cell divisions - inside your incubator. Gain deeper insight into treatment effects on cell cycle dynamics, or link cell cycle arrest to morphology and function using our unique and accessible approach to live-cell imaging and analysis.


Introducing the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Assay for Live-Cell Analysis

The Incucyte® Cell Cycle Assay combines easy-to-learn automated image acquisition and integrated analysis of 96- or 384-well plates with a simple, non-perturbing protocol for cell cycle labeling to generate kinetic, image-based measurements of cell cycle progression over time – all from inside your incubator. The Incucyte® Cell Cycle Lentivirus Reagents are fluorescent ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI), and provide a homogeneous expression of two fluorescent proteins to distinguish between cells in the interphase or the mitotic phase to enable the visualization of cell cycle progression. The Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus and the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Orange Lentivirus are both available for use in the Cell Cycle Assay. Used in combination with the Incucyte® Cell-by-Cell Analysis Software Module, the Cell Cycle Assay offers a powerful solution for tracking subpopulations of cells within each stage of the cell cycle over multiple cell divisions, enabling greater insight into cell cycle dynamics.

Key Advantages

Quantify cell cycle dynamics

Follow cell cycle progression over multiple cell divisions in a variety of cell types using image-based measurements. Maintain physiological relevance with stable incubation provided by your incubator and our novel Incucyte® Cell Cycle Lentivirus Reagents that are non-perturbing to cell health and morphology.

Figure 1. Generate image-based measurements of cell cycle transitions over multiple cell divisions with automated image acquisition and integrated analysis. HeLa cells infected with the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus exhibit red fluorescence in G1 and green fluorescence in S/G2/M (A). Yellow cells are in transition from G1 to S while non-fluorescent cells are moving from M to G1. Quantification using Incucyte® Cell-by-Cell Analysis enables accurate masking shown by yellow mask (B) and classification based on red and green fluorescence (C&D). Panel E shows quantification of cell cycle duration, where HeLa cells transfected with Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus were treated with Thymidine (2.5 mM for 24 h) to arrest cell growth in S/G2/M phase. Upon release of this block, cells undergo synchronous division (M-G1-S/G2/M). Data shows a cycle length of 17 h (peak to peak duration). Data shown as mean ± SEM of 6 wells.

Figure 2. Generate direct measurements within living cells through non-perturbing reagents. The introduction of the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus stably into cells is non-perturbing. Images show the same morphology in parent or transfected MDA-MB-231 cells and analysis of images demonstrates no effect on cell growth.

Unlock your productivity

Speed time to answer with Incucyte's approachable, end-to-end solution. Follow a simple live-cell labelling protocol - no fixing, no lifting. Automate acquisition and analysis in 96- or 384-well plates with easy-to-use, purpose-built software tools. Easily generate graphs to reveal kinetic changes in cell cycle phase distribution using Incucyte® Cell-by-Cell Analysis Software Module.

Figure 3. Incucyte® Cell Cycle Lentivirus Quick Guide. Stably express a fluorescent ubiquitinated-cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) using a simple labelling protocol — no fixing, no lifting.

Gain new insight

Combine the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Lentivirus with Cell-by-Cell Analysis to track individually identified phases of the cell cycle for the evaluation of drug treatment effects, or link drug-induced cell cycle arrest to cell differentiation.

Figure 4. Measure drug effects on cell cycle phase distribution over time. Time course of HT1080 fibrosarcoma cell division following cisplatin or fluorouracil (5FU) treatment.  Cell cycle phases were determined in HT1080 cells expressing the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus.  Images were analyzed using Cell-by-Cell Analysis Software and population subsets classified based on green and red fluorescence.  Microplate views (top row) show the concentration and time dependent effects over 30 h of cisplatin and 5FU compared to vehicle for the G1 phase (red population), S/G2/M phase (green population) and G1-S phase (orange population).  The concentration response curves taken at 24 h post treatment (bottom row) show after cisplatin treatment, there was a decrease in the population of cells in the G1 phase, increase in the S/G2/M phase and decrease in the G-S phase in line with its effect to interfere with mitosis.  After 5FU treatment, there was an increase in the population of cells in the G1 phase, decrease in the S/G2/M and G1-S phase in line with effect on DNA synthesis. Values shown are the mean ± SEM of 6 wells.

Figure 5. Observe drug-induced cell cycle arrest effects on cell morphology and function. THP-1 monocytes stably expressing the Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Red Lentivirus were exposed to vehicle or Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA; 100 nM) and analysed using the Cell-by-Cell Analysis software. PMA causes the cells to differentiate arresting the cell cycle in the G1 phase (A). Analysis demonstrates a lack of proliferation (B), increase percentage of red cells, G1 phase and a decrease in green cells S/G2/M phase (C) compared to vehicle treated cells. PMA-treated cells were also larger in area (D), indicative of a morphological change and concordant increase in phagocytic potential as measured by efferocytosis of apoptotic Jurkat cells labeled with the pHrodo® Red Cell Labeling Kit for Incucyte® (E).

Ordering Information

Ordering Information



Cat. No.

Incucyte® Cell Cycle Red/Green Lentivirus

1 vial (0.2 mL)


Incucyte® Cell Cycle Green/Orange Lentivirus

1 vial (0.2 mL)


Incucyte® Cell-by-Cell Analysis Software Module

1 module



Application Note

Advanced Label-Free Classification of Cell Morphology Subpopulations

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Product Guide

Incucyte® Cell Cycle Lentivirus Reagents Product Guide

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Application Note

Real-Time Quantification of Cell Cycle Phase

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Quantifying cell subsets and heterogeneity in living cultures using real-time live-cell analysis | AACR 2019

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Incucyte® Reagents, Consumables and Software

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