Single Cell Assay, Sorting and Dispensing

How Our Technology Improves Single Cell Assay, Sorting and Dispensing

In recent years, there’s been a growing number of applications that focus on studying proteins secreted by single cells for biopharmaceutical discovery. Also, many scientists are now interested in isolating single cells for genomic, epigenomic and proteomic analysis. Since the single cell analysis field is relatively new, most current techniques tend to be costly and time-consuming – but it doesn’t need to be that way.

That’s why we’ve developed a unique picodroplet platform that enables you to rapidly and cost-effectively screen millions of single cells and isolate individual hits for further analysis.

Single cell

The Unique Benefits of Our Systems for Single Cell Assay, Sorting and Dispensing

There are generally three main stages involved in single cell analysis: assay, sorting and dispensing. Our technology provides a number of benefits at each of these stages, including compatibility with a range of existing assay reagents, miniaturisation, high-throughput, monoclonality assurance and huge savings on costs and resources. Using our approach, you can process several hundreds of thousands, through to millions of picodroplets per day. This enables you to selectively screen more cells to find rare and valuable candidates in less time, thus boosting your chances of success.

Our technology for single cell analysis involves two main systems: Cyto-Mine® (for assays using optical readouts) and ESI-Mine™ (for assays using mass spectrometry (MS)). One of the unique features of our ESI-Mine™ platform is that it incorporates a picodroplet splitting mechanism for MS analysis. Cell populations are grown from a single cell in a picodroplet and when these are ready for analysis, each picodroplet is split so that one replicate (containing living cells) is stored and the other replicate is analysed using MS (a destructive technique). If the analysed replicate is identified as a ‘hit’, you can retrieve its living replicate for further analysis. This is particularly useful for synthetic biology applications and other experiments where MS is a must, but you cannot afford to destroy the entire sample. This system can also screen around 200,000 samples per day – at least 20-fold higher than conventional techniques.

Cyto-Mine for single cell analysis

Our Systems in Action for Single Cell Assay, Sorting and Dispensing

Our Cyto-Mine® platform can assay cells using scatter, absorbance, luminescence and fluorescence (FRET and conventional fluorescence). That enables you to use ‘off-the-shelf’ reagents and perform many different assay types. ESI-Mine™ offers the benefit of label-free detection, saving you time in assay development and yielding higher quality information by measuring native molecules. Sorting is crucial when carrying out high-throughput analysis, in order to ensure cells are reliably organised into individual wells of microtitre plates and to isolate rare clones for downstream processing. Current techniques can damage cells during sorting, causing them to lose their viability. As seen in the graph, with FACS you lose approximately 45% more cells than with picodroplets, where viability is maintained above 80% following sorting. Similarly, cell viability after dispensing is very high, at over 90%.

Read about how our ESI-Mine™ platform has been used to detect Herceptin in picodroplets, in the peer-reviewed paper published by Smith et al.

Cell viability during single cell sorting