Electrical properties of living cells have been proven to play significant roles in understanding of various biological activities including disease progression both at the cellular and molecular levels. Since two decades ago, many researchers have developed tools to analyze the cell's electrical states especially in single cell analysis (SCA). In depth analysis and more fully described activities of cell differentiation and cancer can only be accomplished with single cell analysis. This growing interest was supported by the emergence of various microfluidic techniques to fulfill high precisions screening, reduced equipment cost and low analysis time for characterization of the single cell's electrical properties, as compared to classical bulky technique. This paper presents a historical review of single cell electrical properties analysis development from classical techniques to recent advances in microfluidic techniques. Technical details of the different microfluidic techniques are highlighted, and the advantages and limitations of various microfluidic devices are discussed.
Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data are typically with a large number of missing values, which often results in the loss of critical gene signaling information and seriously limit the downstream analysis. Deep learning-based imputation methods often can better handle scRNA-seq data than shallow ones, but most of them do not consider the inherent relations between genes, and the expression of a gene is often regulated by other genes. Therefore, it is essential to impute scRNA-seq data by considering the regional gene-to-gene relations. We propose a novel model (named scGGAN) to impute scRNA-seq data that learns the gene-to-gene relations by Graph Convolutional Networks (GCN) and global scRNA-seq data distribution by Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). scGGAN first leverages single-cell and bulk genomics data to explore inherent relations between genes and builds a more compact gene relation network to jointly capture the homogeneous and heterogeneous information. Then, it constructs a GCN-based GAN model to integrate the scRNA-seq, gene sequencing data and gene relation network for generating scRNA-seq data, and trains the model through adversarial learning. Finally, it utilizes data generated by the trained GCN-based GAN model to impute scRNA-seq data. Experiments on simulated and real scRNA-seq datasets show that scGGAN can effectively identify dropout events, recover the biologically meaningful expressions, determine subcellular states and types, improve the differential expression analysis and temporal dynamics analysis. Ablation experiments confirm that both the gene relation network and gene sequence data help the imputation of scRNA-seq data.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are potentially ideal tips for atomic force microscopy (AFM) due to the robust mechanical properties, nanoscale diameter and also their ability to be functionalized by chemical and biological components at the tip ends. This contribution develops the idea of using CNTs as an AFM tip in computational analysis of the biological cells. The proposed software was ABAQUS 6.13 CAE/CEL provided by Dassault Systems, which is a powerful finite element (FE) tool to perform the numerical analysis and visualize the interactions between proposed tip and membrane of the cell. Finite element analysis employed for each section and displacement of the nodes located in the contact area was monitored by using an output database (ODB). Mooney-Rivlin hyperelastic model of the cell allows the simulation to obtain a new method for estimating the stiffness and spring constant of the cell. Stress and strain curve indicates the yield stress point which defines as a vertical stress and plan stress. Spring constant of the cell and the local stiffness was measured as well as the applied force of CNT-AFM tip on the contact area of the cell. This reliable integration of CNT-AFM tip process provides a new class of high performance nanoprobes for single biological cell analysis.
Cell migration is a key contributor to wound repair. This study presents findings indicating that the liquid crystal based cell traction force transducer (LCTFT) system can be used in conjunction with a bespoke cell traction force mapping (CTFM) software to monitor cell/surface traction forces from quiescent state in real time. In this study, time-lapse photo microscopy allowed cell induced deformations in liquid crystal coated substrates to be monitored and analyzed. The results indicated that the system could be used to monitor the generation of cell/surface forces in an initially quiescent cell, as it migrated over the culture substrate, via multiple points of contact between the cell and the surface. Future application of this system is the real-time assaying of the pharmacological effects of cytokines on the mechanics of cell migration.
Cell adhesion is essential in cell communication and regulation, and is of fundamental importance in the development and maintenance of tissues. The mechanical interactions between a cell and its extracellular matrix (ECM) can influence and control cell behavior and function. The essential function of cell adhesion has created tremendous interests in developing methods for measuring and studying cell adhesion properties. The study of cell adhesion could be categorized into cell adhesion attachment and detachment events. The study of cell adhesion has been widely explored via both events for many important purposes in cellular biology, biomedical, and engineering fields. Cell adhesion attachment and detachment events could be further grouped into the cell population and single cell approach. Various techniques to measure cell adhesion have been applied to many fields of study in order to gain understanding of cell signaling pathways, biomaterial studies for implantable sensors, artificial bone and tooth replacement, the development of tissue-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip in tissue engineering, the effects of biochemical treatments and environmental stimuli to the cell adhesion, the potential of drug treatments, cancer metastasis study, and the determination of the adhesion properties of normal and cancerous cells. This review discussed the overview of the available methods to study cell adhesion through attachment and detachment events.
We present barcoded oligonucleotides ligated on RNA amplified for multiplexed and parallel insitu analyses (BOLORAMIS), a reverse transcription-free method for spatially-resolved, targeted, in situ RNA identification of single or multiple targets. BOLORAMIS was demonstrated on a range of cell types and human cerebral organoids. Singleplex experiments to detect coding and non-coding RNAs in human iPSCs showed a stem-cell signature pattern. Specificity of BOLORAMIS was found to be 92% as illustrated by a clear distinction between human and mouse housekeeping genes in a co-culture system, as well as by recapitulation of subcellular localization of lncRNA MALAT1. Sensitivity of BOLORAMIS was quantified by comparing with single molecule FISH experiments and found to be 11%, 12% and 35% for GAPDH, TFRC and POLR2A, respectively. To demonstrate BOLORAMIS for multiplexed gene analysis, we targeted 96 mRNAs within a co-culture of iNGN neurons and HMC3 human microglial cells. We used fluorescence in situ sequencing to detect error-robust 8-base barcodes associated with each of these genes. We then used this data to uncover the spatial relationship among cells and transcripts by performing single-cell clustering and gene-gene proximity analyses. We anticipate the BOLORAMIS technology for in situ RNA detection to find applications in basic and translational research.
Besides malignant cells, the tumour microenvironment consists of various stromal cells such as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and myofibroblasts. Accumulation of heterogeneous populations of stromal cells in solid tumours is associated with lower survival rates and cancer recurrence in patients. Certain limitations presented by conventional experimental designs and techniques in cancer research have led to poor understanding of the fundamental basis of cancer niche. Recent developments in single-cell techniques allow more in-depth studies of the tumour microenvironment. Analyses at the single-cell level enables the detection of rare cell types, characterization of intra-tumour cellular heterogeneity and analysis of the lineage output of malignant cells. This subsequently, provides valuable insights on better diagnostic methods and treatment avenues for cancer. This review explores the recent advancements and applications of single-cell technologies in cancer research pertaining to the study of stromal fibroblasts in the microenvironment of solid tumours.