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Microchip platforms for multiplex single-cell functional proteomics with applications to immunology and cancer research

Wei Wei12, Young Shik Shin1, Chao Ma1, Jun Wang1, Meltem Elitas3, Rong Fan3 and James R Heath1*

Author Affiliations

1 NanoSystems Biology Cancer Center, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

2 Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA

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Genome Medicine 2013, 5:75  doi:10.1186/gm479

Published: 29 August 2013


Single-cell functional proteomics assays can connect genomic information to biological function through quantitative and multiplex protein measurements. Tools for single-cell proteomics have developed rapidly over the past 5 years and are providing approaches for directly elucidating phosphoprotein signaling networks in cancer cells or for capturing high-resolution snapshots of immune system function in patients with various disease conditions. We discuss advances in single-cell proteomics platforms, with an emphasis on microchip methods. These methods can provide a direct correlation of morphological, functional and molecular signatures at the single-cell level. We also provide examples of how those platforms are being applied to both fundamental biology and clinical studies, focusing on immune-system monitoring and phosphoprotein signaling networks in cancer.