High resolution single cell analysis in complex adult tissues

Stefan Günther ,Michail Yekelchyk, Isabelle Salwig, Jens Preussner, Thomas Braun

MPI for Heart and Lung Research, Germany 

Molecular analysis of complex tissues in adult model organisms is a common tool for deciphering processes and networks during development, aging and disease. The majority of such “omic” anal- yses were done using whole tissue/organs or in macro or micro dissected anatomical regions. However, the complexity and cellu- lar composition of such samples prevent high-resolution analysis. Identification of small subpopulations or specific changes within small cell populations are usually not detected due to massive overrepresentation of signals/data points from bulk cells. To over- come these problems and to gain insights into subpopulation of cells many attempts are being made to switch from bulk anal- yses to identification of molecular changes in single cells. This approach allows a very high-resolution analysis, but is associ- ated with numerous other problems that have to be resolved to achieve meaningful insights. Our main focus is on the transcrip- tomics of individual cells and subpopulations. Many techniques and tools were developed during last years to obtain transcrip- tomics data from hundreds or thousands of cells from different model organisms, organs and tissues. Nonetheless, many exper- iments require special tissue-dependent conditions limiting the use of standard methods. Here, we show data from 2 projects, which faces special challenges regarding cell size and number of cellular subpopulations within individual samples. In collabora- tion with Wafergen/Takara Bio we demonstrate that the ICELL8TM Single-Cell System can be used to obtain high-resolution single cell data for particularly large cells or complex cell populations, which are difficult to analyze with other techniques. Our results provide new insights into the heterogeneity of cell populations and the transcriptional networks that regulate biological processes in the corresponding tissues.

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