The cell is the basic unit of life. For multicellular organisms like animals and plants, each cell is different. Due to limited sensitivity, conventional ‘omic analyses require the input of tissues, organs or a mixture of thousands of cells, where information at the single-cell level has been diluted and averaged. This problem has severely limited our understanding of the intricate signaling and metabolic pathways and networks in different cells. In recent years, single-cell biology has become a rapidly growing field owing to the advancement in single-cell analysis technologies and approaches. For example, the 10x Genomics gene expression analysis has unraveled enriched transcriptional information in different single animal and plant cells. Recently, a 10x Visium Spatial Gene Expression instrument has been developed to enable high-resolution transcript level imaging of tissue-thin sections.
Proteins and metabolites are “actor” molecules closely related to animal and plant development, physiology and disease state. With the development of supersensitive mass spectrometry technologies, now single-cell proteomics and metabolomics have become a reality. In late October 2019, Dr. Sixue Chen, Faculty Director of ICBR Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry (PM) Core was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the first Joint Center for Single-Cell Biology in Shanghai, China. He gave a plenary talk on how proteomics and metabolomics were applied to understanding plant guard cell response to pathogen invasion in ever-changing environments like rising atmospheric carbon dioxide conditions.
The advent of single-cell analysis technologies is revolutionizing basic and applied biological and medical research. ICBR’s PM Core is fully committed to developing cutting-edge single-cell analysis technologies and approaches that will provide novel insight into how each individual cell works in plants, animals and humans during growth, development, stress response and disease development. Single-cell molecular imaging, proteomics and metabolomics will not only complement the transcriptomic analyses already established in ICBR’s Gene Expression Core but also will enable multi-omics single-cell analysis, networking and modeling. Laying cornerstones for systems biology and single-cell synthetic biology, this knowledge brings forth a new frontier in modern biological and medical research.
ICBR PM Core offers training and self-service opportunities for students and faculty research, in addition to full-service in a variety of protein and metabolite applications. Please contact us at ICBR-Proteomics@ad.ufl.edu for your research needs.