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Tracing unique cells with mathematics
Date:1/23/2014

However, cells with different properties are then distributed randomly on the samples. Therefore Theis's collaborator Christiane Fuchs developed statistical methods to still identify the single-cell properties in the mixture of signals.

Combining model and experiment

On the basis of known biological data, Theis and Fuchs modeled the distribution for the case of genes that exhibit two well-defined regulatory states. Together with biologists Kevin Janes and Sameer Bajikar at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (USA), they were able to prove experimentally that with the help of statistical methods samples containing ten cells deliver results of higher accuracy than can be achieved through analysis of the same number of single cell samples.

In many cases, several gene actions are triggered by the same factor. Even in such cases, the statistical method can be applied successfully. Fluorescent markers indicate the gene activities. The result is a mosaic, which again can be checked to spot whether different cells respond differently to the factor.

The method is so sensitive that it even shows one deviation in 40 otherwise identical cells. The fact that this difference actually is an effect and not a random outlier could be proven experimentally.


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Contact: Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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