Scientists isolate protein data from the tiniest of caches -- single human cells

ScienceDaily | 6/18/2018 | Staff
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The stockpile of information about proteins -- the most such data ever collected from a single mammalian cell -- gives scientists one of their clearest looks yet at the molecular happenings inside a human cell. Such data can reveal whether a cell is a rogue cancer cell, a malfunctioning pancreatic cell involved in diabetes, or a molecular player important for a preemie's survival.

These events and many more are determined by the actions of proteins in cells. Until now, detailed information on proteins inside single cells was hard to come by. The raw "data" -- the amount of each protein -- in a cell is extraordinarily scant and hard to measure. That's largely because scientists can't amplify proteins the way they can genes or other molecular messengers.

Study - Angewandte - Chemie - Scientists - Department

Now, in a study published in Angewandte Chemie, scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, working with counterparts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, show how they were able to learn an unprecedented amount of information about the proteins within samples of single human lung cells.

The scientists analyzed single cells, first from cultured cells and then from the lungs of a human donor, and detected on average more than 650 proteins in each cell -- many times more than conventional techniques capture from single cells.

Team - Chemists - Zhu - Ryan - Kelly

The team, including analytical chemists Ying Zhu and Ryan Kelly and biochemists Geremy Clair and Charles Ansong, made the findings thanks to a technology created at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility located at PNNL. The team developed the technology, called nanoPOTS, to measure proteins in a tiny, almost unimaginable amount of material.

"NanoPOTS is like a molecular microscope that allows us to analyze samples that are 500 times smaller than we could see before," said Kelly, the corresponding author of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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