Exciting new work by Cai Lab and lead author Yandong Zhang demonstrates a strategy for measuring proteins and their post-translational modification (PTM) states in single cells. From the paper:

“Unlike nucleic acids, proteins cannot be amplified, making detection of minute quantities from single cells difficult. Here, we develop a strategy to detect targeted protein and its PTM isoforms in single cells. We barcode the proteins from single cells by tagging them with oligonucleotides, pool barcoded cells together, run bulk gel electrophoresis to separate protein and its PTM isoform and quantify their abundances by sequencing the oligonucleotides associated with each protein species. We used this strategy, iDentification and qUantification sEparaTion (DUET), to measure histone protein H2B and its monoubiquitination isoform, H2Bub, in single yeast cells. Our results revealed the heterogeneities of H2B ubiquitination levels in single cells from different cell-cycle stages, which is obscured in ensemble measurements.”

Read the full text at Nature