New proteomic method for analysing rare cell subsets developed

Published on 11 January 2022

Latest research from the lab of Dr Tony Ly describes a new proteomic analysis methodology for samples with a low cell number.

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This method could assist researchers across the globe when analysing rare cell subsets in the body, including immune cells and circulating tumour cells. The work was published in Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

Tony, based in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression in the School, explains, “We developed a minimalistic sample processing method for proteomics called the 'in-cell digest'. This method relies on the discovery that cells 'fixed' with formaldehyde are excellent substrates for protease digestion, allowing for a one-step method converting cells to peptides for proteome analysis by mass spectrometry. We applied the in-cell digest to analyze how the proteome changes across the cell cycle, including rare subphases, collecting ~5,000 cells per subphase. Using this analysis, we discover a robust 119-protein signature that can accurately classify proteomes into cell cycle states.”

The research was funded by Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

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