High-throughput intracellular biopsy of microRNAs for dissecting the temporal dynamics of cellular heterogeneity.
The capability to analyze small RNAs responsible for post-transcriptional regulation of genes expression is essential for characterizing cellular phenotypes. Here, we describe an intracellular biopsy technique (inCell-Biopsy) for fast, multiplexed, and highly sensitive profiling of microRNAs (miRNAs). The technique uses an array of diamond nanoneedles that are functionalized with size-dependent RNA binding proteins, working as "fishing rods" to directly pull miRNAs out of cytoplasm while keeping the cells alive, thus enabling quasi-single-cell miRNA analysis. Each nanoneedle works as a reaction chamber for parallel in situ amplification, visualization, and quantification of miRNAs as low as femtomolar, which is sufficient to detect miRNAs of a single-copy intracellular abundance with specificity to single-nucleotide variation. Using inCell-Biopsy, we analyze the temporal miRNA transcriptome over the differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The combinatorial miRNA expression patterns derived by inCell-Biopsy identify emerging cell subpopulations differentiated from ESCs and reveal the dynamic evolution of cellular heterogeneity.
Wang, Z; Qi, L; Yang, Y; Lu, M; Xie, K; Zhao, X; Cheung, EHC; Wang, Y; Jiang, X; Zhang, W; Huang, L; Wang, X; Shi, P
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