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Counting Low-Copy Number Proteins in a Single Cell

Science  05 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5808, pp. 81-84
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133992

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Abstract

We have designed a microfluidic device in which we can manipulate, lyse, label, separate, and quantify the protein contents of a single cell using single-molecule fluorescence counting. Generic labeling of proteins is achieved through fluorescent-antibody binding. The use of cylindrical optics enables high-efficiency (≈60%) counting of molecules in micrometer-sized channels. We used this microfluidic device to quantify β2 adrenergic receptors expressed in insect cells (SF9). We also analyzed phycobiliprotein contents in individual cyanobacterial cells (Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942) and observed marked differences in the levels of specific complexes in cell populations that were grown under nitrogen-depleted conditions.

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