A new technique, termed laser capture microscopy with transcriptome sequencing (LCM-seq”), has enabled researchers to conduct transcriptome analysis on single cells in situ, overcoming limitations posed by small tissue samples and limited cell numbers. In the July 8 Nature Communications, researchers led by Eva Hedlund and Qiaolin Deng from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, show applications of this approach to neurons from mouse spinal cord, human post-mortem tissues, and histologically stained brain tissue. Using spatial information, which is preserved since the cells are not dissociated, LCM-seq was used to identify unique transcriptional profiles for motor neurons (MNs) based on their spatial location in the spinal cord. The researchers hope to use LCM-seq to analyze single MNs in ALS to elucidate pathways underlying selective MN vulnerability to disease.
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Nichterwitz S, Chen G, Aguila Benitez J, Yilmaz M, Storvall H, Cao M, Sandberg R, Deng Q, Hedlund E . Laser capture microscopy coupled with Smart-seq2 for precise spatial transcriptomic profiling. Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 8;7:12139. [Pubmed].