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Quantitative Single-Cell Proteomics as a Tool to Characterize Cellular Hierarchies

By Erwin M Schoof, Benjamin Furtwängler, Nil Üresin, Nicolas Rapin, Simonas Savickas, Coline Gentil, Eric Lechman, Ulrich auf dem Keller, John E. Dick, Bo T Porse

Posted 24 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/745679

Large-scale single-cell analyses are of fundamental importance in order to capture biological heterogeneity within complex cell systems, but have largely been limited to RNA-based technologies. Here we present a comprehensive benchmarked experimental and computational workflow, which establishes global single-cell mass spectrometry-based proteomics as a tool for large-scale single-cell analyses. By exploiting a primary leukemia model system, we demonstrate both through pre-enrichment of cell populations and through a non-enriched unbiased approach that our workflow enables the exploration of cellular heterogeneity within this aberrant developmental hierarchy. Our approach is capable of consistently quantifying approximately 1000 proteins per cell across thousands of individual cells using limited instrument time. Furthermore, we developed a computational workflow (SCeptre) that effectively normalizes the data, integrates available FACS data and facilitates downstream analysis. The approach presented here lays a solid foundation for implementing global single-cell proteomics studies across the world.

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