Significant advances have been made in methods to analyze genomes and transcriptomes of single cells, but to fully define cell states, proteins must also be accessed as central actors defining a cell’s phenotype.
Methods currently used to analyze endogenous protein expression in single cells are limited in specificity, throughput, or multiplex capability.
Researchers present an approach to simultaneously and specifically interrogate large sets of protein and RNA targets in lysates from individual cells, enabling investigations of cell functions and responses.
Using the method they developed, researchers investigated the effects of BMP4, an experimental therapeutic agent, on early-passage glioblastoma cell cultures.
They uncovered significant heterogeneity in responses to treatment at levels of RNA and protein, with a subset of cells reacting in a distinct manner to BMP4.
Moreover, they found overall poor correlation between protein and RNA at the level of single cells, with proteins more accurately defining responses to treatment.