Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Mass and Flow

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Science Signaling  10 May 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 172, pp. ec130
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4172ec130

Measurement of multiple parameters on individual cells in conventional flow cytometry is limited because of spectral overlap of the fluorophore markers that are detected. Bendall et al. (see the Perspective by Benoist and Hacohen) describe a technique in which more than 30 measurements can be made through the use of distinct elemental isotopes detected by mass spectrometry. This technique allows the analysis of hundreds of cells per second. Each cell is vaporized at 5500 degrees kelvin, and the markers are monitored by inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The technique was used to analyze the signaling properties of various cell types in the human hematopoietic system but should also be applicable to many other systems.

S. C. Bendall, E. F. Simonds, P. Qiu, E.-a. D. Amir, P. O. Krutzik, R. Finck, R. V. Bruggner, R. Melamed, A. Trejo, O. I. Ornatsky, R. S. Balderas, S. K. Plevritis, K. Sachs, D. Pe’er, S. D. Tanner, G. P. Nolan, Single-cell mass cytometry of differential immune and drug responses across a human hematopoietic continuum. Science 332, 687–696 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

C. Benoist, N. Hacohen, Flow cytometry, amped up. Science 332, 677–678 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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