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Single-cell Gene Expression Using Multiplex RT-qPCR to Characterize Heterogeneity of Rare Lymphoid Populations.

Abstract : Gene expression heterogeneity is an interesting feature to investigate in lymphoid populations. Gene expression in these cells varies during cell activation, stress, or stimulation. Single-cell multiplex gene expression enables the simultaneous assessment of tens of genes(1)(,)(2)(,)(3). At the single-cell level, multiplex gene expression determines population heterogeneity(4)(,)(5). It allows for the distinction of population heterogeneity by determining both the probable mix of diverse precursor stages among mature cells and also the diversity of cell responses to stimuli. Innate lymphoid cells (ILC) have been recently described as a population of innate effectors of the immune response(6)(,)(7). In this protocol, cell heterogeneity of the ILC hepatic compartment is investigated during homeostasis. Currently, the most widely used technique to assess gene expression is RT-qPCR. This method measures gene expression only one gene at a time. Additionally, this method cannot estimate heterogeneity of gene expression, since multiple cells are needed for one test. This leads to the measurement of the average gene expression of the population. When assessing large numbers of genes, RT-qPCR becomes a time-, reagent-, and sample-consuming method. Hence, the trade-offs limit the number of genes or cell populations that can be evaluated, increasing the risk of missing the global picture. This manuscript describes how single-cell multiplex RT-qPCR can be used to overcome these limitations. This technique has benefited from recent microfluidics technological advances(1)(,)(2). Reactions occurring in multiplex RT-qPCR chips do not exceed the nanoliter-level. Hence, single-cell gene expression, as well as simultaneous multiple gene expression, can be performed in a reagent-, sample-, and cost-effective manner. It is possible to test cell gene signature heterogeneity at the clonal level between cell subsets within a population at different developmental stages or under different conditions(4)(,)(5). Working on rare populations with large numbers of conditions at the single-cell level is no longer a restriction.
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Contributor : Marie-Christine Vougny Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 11:13:13 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 10:10:32 AM

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Thibaut Perchet, Sylvestre Chea, Milena Hasan, Ana Cumano, Rachel Golub. Single-cell Gene Expression Using Multiplex RT-qPCR to Characterize Heterogeneity of Rare Lymphoid Populations.. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, JoVE, 2017, ⟨10.3791/54858⟩. ⟨pasteur-01473735⟩



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