Compared to single-cell genomics and single-cell transcriptomics that define what a cell can do and what a cell is planning to do, respectively, single-cell lipidomics confers the closest readout to the actual phenotype of what has happened.
Recently, a review led by Professor SHUI Guanghou of Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, summarized and discussed various aspects of single cell lipidomics, which include sampling techniques of single cells, acquisition of single-cell lipidome, urgent call for high-coverage, accurate identification and quantitative measurements in single cell lipidomics, data analysis of single cell lipidomics, and the biological and translational promises of single-cell lipidomics including cell lineage tracing, tumor heterogeneity and diverse immune responses to diseases.
Applications of single-cell lipidomics (Image by IGDB)
As discussed in this review, the development of single-cell lipidomics is still in its incipient stage, and more biological and clinical applications will unfold as the field advances. Technological breakthroughs have revolutionized the way we approach biology, marked by a transition from ensemble assays in bulk to focus on single molecules and single cells.
As we examine the biological fabrics at higher resolution, subtle differences are unmasked that may pave new research directions, thereby providing unique answers to long-standing questions in various aspects of basic biology and clinical medicine.
However, technical bottlenecks in single-cell lipidomics, especially the low analytical coverage and issues on accurate identification and quantitation, limit its wide applications. Continuous effort is urgently needed to overcome these obstacles.
In general, this review summarized the current technological progress and bottlenecks in single-cell lipidomics, and discussed the unique technical challenges in analyzing lipids within single cells, with particular focus on the importance of accurate lipid identification and quantification.
Professor SHUI Guanghou
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences