Molecular Pixelation Maps Hundreds of Proteins in Single Cells

According to a recent study published in Nature Methods, researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Pixelgen Technologies have created and implemented a method that enables protein mapping in individual cells in a new way. It is now feasible to quantify not only the quantity of proteins but also their distribution within the membrane of the cell and their interactions with one another.

In the past, so-called flow cytometry could only be used to examine a small number of proteins in individual cells. However, the novel method - known as molecular pixilation - goes one step further. Hundreds of proteins can now be analyzed simultaneously, providing a more comprehensive view of their interactions and distribution within individual cells. This is significant because proteins are essential for both signaling and cellular function.

By understanding how proteins behave in individual cells, we can better study diseases such as cancer and inflammatory disorders. In addition, we can use the technique to evaluate new drugs and their impact on the distribution of proteins in cells.”

Petter Brodin, Professor and Study Author, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet

Brodin continues, “No one else has previously reported a similar technology, which is why this is so unique.

Petter Brodin suggests that the next phase involves employing molecular pixelation in studies related to cancer, the immune system, and other processes wherein protein distribution evolves over time.

This is exciting because it will open up completely new possibilities in single-cell analysis and contribute to our understanding of biological processes.”

Petter Brodin, Professor and Study Author, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet

Source:
Journal reference:

Karlsson, F., et al. (2024) Molecular pixelation: spatial proteomics of single cells by sequencing. Nature Methods. doi.org/10.1038/s41592-024-02268-9

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