Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genomic sequencing method enables 'smarter' anaysis of individual cells

23.07.2012
Applications include studying single cells that form malignant tumors

Only by viewing a Seurat painting at close range can you appreciate the hidden complexities of pointillism – small, distinct dots of pure color applied in patterns to form an image from a distance. Similarly, biologists and geneticists have long sought to analyze profiles of genes at the single cell level but technology limitations have only allowed a view from afar until now.

Research published in the July 22 issue of Nature Biotechnology, shows for the first time that a novel genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. Smart-Seq has many possible applications, including helping scientists to better understand the complexities of tumor development. This is vitally important as many clinically important cells exist only in small numbers and require single cell analysis. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the University of California, San Diego and Illumina Inc.

"While our results are preliminary, we showed that it is possible to do studies of individual, clinically relevant cells," says biomedical scientist Rickard Sandberg, researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and principal investigator at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet. "Cancer researchers around the world will now be able to analyze these cells more systematically to enable them to produce better methods of diagnosis and therapy in the future."

Previous research showed that it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy. The phenomenon, known as splicing, means that cells from the same tissue are not so homogenous as previously thought.

The research team has now taken its study a step further and developed a method for the complete mapping of the gene expression of individual cells. In showing which genes are active, it is now possible to accurately describe and study differences in gene expression between individual cells from the same tissue.

"Scientists have been waiting for a long time for such a method to come along, but technical limitations have made it difficult to produce a sufficiently sensitive and robust method," says Dr. Sandberg. "The method has several areas of applications including cancer research where it can be used to study which cell types form cancer tumors in individual patients."

In the study, scientists studied tumor cells in the blood system of a patient with recurring malignant melanoma. Once they had identified the tumor cells in a regular blood test, the team used Smart-Seq to analyze their gene expression. By using this method, researchers could show that the tumor cells had activated many important membrane proteins that are understood to be responsible for their ability to evade the body's monitoring system and spread in the blood or lymph.

The study was conducted with the support of several funding bodies, including the European Research Council, the Swedish Research Council, the Foundation for Strategic Research, the Åke Wiberg Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Publication: 'Full-Length mRNA-Seq from single cell levels of RNA and individual circulating tumor cells', Daniel Ramsköld, Shujun Luo, Yu-Chieh Wang, Robin Li, Qiaolin Deng, Omid R. Faridani, Gregory A. Daniels, Irina Khrebtukova, Jeanne F. Loring, Louise C. Laurent, Gary P. Schroth and Rickard Sandberg, Nature Biotechnology, online publication 22 July 2012.

About Karolinska Institute

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 percent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

About The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

LICR is an international non-profit organization committed to improving the understanding and control of cancer through integrated laboratory and clinical discovery. Leveraging its worldwide network of investigators and the ability to sponsor and conduct its own clinical trials, the Institute is actively engaged in translating its discoveries into applications for patient benefit. Since its establishment in 1971, the Institute has expended more than $1.5 billion on cancer research.

For further information please contact the KI press room at +46 8 524 860 77 or Pressinfo@ki.se or visit http://ki.se/pressroom and Rachel Steinhardt, rsteinhardt@licr.org or +1-212-450-1582.

Rachel Steinhardt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.licr.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>