Highly Multiplexed Subcellular RNA Sequencing in Situ

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Science  21 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6177, pp. 1360-1363
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250212

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Transcripts Visualized in Situ

Despite advances, current methods for single-cell sequencing are unable to resolve transcript location within the cell, so Lee et al. (p. 1360, published online 27 February) developed a method of fluorescent in situ RNA sequencing (FISSEQ) that works in vivo to show messenger RNA localization within cells. The method amplifies complementary DNA targets by rolling circle amplification, and then in situ cross-linking locks amplicons to produce ample, highly localized templates for three-dimensional sequencing. The technique was tested in fibroblasts to reveal the differences between individual cells during wound repair.


Understanding the spatial organization of gene expression with single-nucleotide resolution requires localizing the sequences of expressed RNA transcripts within a cell in situ. Here, we describe fluorescent in situ RNA sequencing (FISSEQ), in which stably cross-linked complementary DNA (cDNA) amplicons are sequenced within a biological sample. Using 30-base reads from 8102 genes in situ, we examined RNA expression and localization in human primary fibroblasts with a simulated wound-healing assay. FISSEQ is compatible with tissue sections and whole-mount embryos and reduces the limitations of optical resolution and noisy signals on single-molecule detection. Our platform enables massively parallel detection of genetic elements, including gene transcripts and molecular barcodes, and can be used to investigate cellular phenotype, gene regulation, and environment in situ.

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