Research Article

Quantifying E. coli Proteome and Transcriptome with Single-Molecule Sensitivity in Single Cells

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Science  30 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5991, pp. 533-538
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188308

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Devil in the Detail

Genetically identical cells in the same environment can show variation in gene expression that may cause phenotypic variation at the single-cell level. But how noisy are most genes? Taniguchi et al. (p. 533; see the Perspective by Tyagi) now report single-cell global profiling of both messenger RNA (mRNA) and proteins in Escherichia coli using a yellow fluorescent protein fusion library. As well as a common extrinsic noise in high-abundance proteins, large fluctuations were observed in low-abundance proteins. Remarkably, in single-cell experiments, mRNA and protein levels for the same gene were uncorrelated.