Single-Cell Volatile Analysis for Defining Type and Cell-to-Cell Heterogeneity

Mamatha Serasanambati, Chemical Engineering, Technion, Hiafa, Israel
Yoav Y. Broza, Chemical Engineering, Technion, Hiafa, Israel
Abraham Marmur, Chemical Engineering, Technion, Hiafa, Israel
Hossam Haick, Chemical Engineering, Technion, Hiafa, Israel

We present a new approach for defining single-cell type and cell-to-cell heterogeneity. The approach is based on the determination of the fingerprint of chemical compounds that have a low molecular weight and relatively high vapor pressure under room-temperature conditions. This concept, with various lung cancer cell lines has a different p53 genetic status with normal lung epithelial cells at single-cell level. Single-cells of (lung) cancer have a unique (volatile) molecular print through the headspace samples, and each sub-type of cell - even if they have only minor differences in their genetic structure - have their own unique volatile molecular print. Therefore, the presence of one cell would not screen out others. This is a prerequisite in shedding lighter on the heterogeneity of cancer cells and developing new generation(s) of biomedical approaches for personalized screening, diagnosis, and future screening of various diseases in a non-invasive, and inexpensive manner.

Significance Statement : The current paper reports on the use of volatile biomarkers as a new pathway for single-cell analysis for defining type and cell-to-cell heterogeneity. In comparison to other “single-cell omics”, the reported approach has the advantage of being relying on chemical compounds that can potentially transfer / diffuse to relatively very long distances between the cells and/or from one cell to another destination inside the human body – up to several tens of centimeters. The implications of this “potential advantage” are he in all length scales and we are delighted that the current work serve as the basis for this potential.

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