Peking University in collaboration with Zhejiang University to "Engrave" Cells

MAY . 30 2018
Peking University, May 30, 2018: Recently, the Huang Chaolan research group of Peking University, collaborating with the Fang Qun research group of Zhejiang University, has made breakthroughs in the field of single cell proteomics analysis. The results were published online in full text on the journal Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Association (impact factor 6.32). The title of the paper is "Nanoliter-Scale Oil-Air-Droplet Chip-Based Single Cell Proteomic Analysis".

FigureSchematic diagrams of the setup of the nanoliter scale oil-air-droplet (OAD) chip and the self-aligning monolithic (SAM) device (a) and the entire procedure of sample pretreatment and injection for single cell proteomic analysis (b).

If single cell proteomics is compared to engraving on rice grains, the two research teams can be said to have created a tool knife suitable for this type of engraving. There are three breakthroughs in this study: first, they developed a nanoliter-scale oil-air-droplet (OAD) chip for achieving multistep complex sample pretreatment and injection for single cell proteomic analysis; second, they designed a self-aligning monolithic (SAM) device to couple with the OAD chip to achieve the accurate manipulation and high-efficiency injection of the nanoliter sample droplets; third, in order to avoid the loss of in-droplet lipophilic peptide components in a typical droplet-based microfluidic system, they used an oil-air-droplet sandwich design adopting air to separate the droplet and the cover oil in the droplet chip to avoid the droplet directly contacting the cover oil, which not only protected the droplet from obvious evaporation in the prolonged reaction process, but also eliminated the possibility of the dissolution of the in-droplet lipophilic peptide components in the cover oil and the interference of the oil for droplet sample injection into the LC column. With such a design, the droplet device also acquired a semiopen feature, which facilitated the capillary probe to sequentially add different nanoliter-scale reagents required for proteomic analysis into the droplet as well as sampling from the droplet for sample injection into the LC column by removing the layer of oil.

This study has started a brand-new system for single-cell proteomic analysis and this system will be widely applied in different areas such elucidating the heterogeneities of cells and their underlying cause or clinical research. Therefore, it has a great potential for sustainable development and application in the future.

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Written by: Wu Zhaoxia
Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Source: Center for Precision Medicine Multi-Omics Research