Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Direct measurement of protein expression with single-cell resolution promises to deepen the understanding of basic molecular processes during normal and impaired development. High-resolution mass spectrometry provides detailed coverage of the proteomic composition of large numbers of cells. Here we discuss recent mass spectrometry developments based on single-cell capillary electrophoresis that extend discovery proteomics to sufficient sensitivity to enable the measurement of proteins in single cells. The single-cell mass spectrometry system is used to detect a large number of proteins in single embryonic cells in blastomeres in the 16-cell embryo of the South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) that give rise to distinct tissue types. Single-cell measurements of protein expression provide complementary information on gene transcription during early development of the vertebrate embryo, raising a potential to understand how differential gene expression coordinates normal cell heterogeneity during development.
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Lombard-Banek, C., Moody, S. A., & Nemes, P. (2016). High-sensitivity Mass Spectrometry for Probing Gene Translation in Single Embryonic Cells in the Early Frog (Xenopus) Embryo. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 4 (). http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2016.00100