A novel method for microscopically profiling tiny single cells within organs and tissues has been developed by a research team led by Kedar Nath Natarajan and Xi Chen from Wellcome Sanger Institute.
Many of the cell types in our bodies work in obscure ways, that science does not yet fully understand. That also goes for immune cells, which are vital for protecting us against serious diseases.
In order to conquer this obstacle, researchers put a lot of effort into finding new ways to study the inner works of individual cells. The challenge is not only to isolate an individual cell from a tissue sample. We also need to find a way to determine the function of the individual cell, says Kedar Nath Natarajan, Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator at Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark.
The paper's abstract gives this description:
The assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) is widely used to identify regulatory regions throughout the genome. However, very few studies have been performed at the single cell level (scATAC-seq) due to technical challenges. Here we developed a simple and robust plate-based scATACseq method, combining upfront bulk Tn5 tagging with single-nuclei sorting. We demonstrated that our method worked robustly across various systems, including fresh and cryopreserved cells from primary tissues. By profiling over 3,000 splenocytes, we identify distinct immune cell types and reveal cell type-specific regulatory regions and related transcription factors.