Simultaneous Detection of Protein and mRNA in Jurkat and KG-1a Cells by Mass Cytometry

Mavropoulos, A., Allo, B., He, M. et al.

Mass cytometry uniquely enables high-dimensional single-cell analysis of complex populations. This recently developed technology is based on inductively coupled time-of-flight mass spectrometry for multiplex proteomic analysis of more than 40 markers per cell. The ability to characterize the transcriptome is critical for the understanding of disease pathophysiology, medical diagnostics, and drug discovery. Current techniques allowing the in situ detection of transcripts in single cells are limited to a small number of simultaneous targets and are generally tedious and labor-intensive. In this report, we present the development of a multiplex method for targeted RNA detection by combining the mass cytometry and RNAscope® platforms. This novel assay, called Metal In Situ Hybridization (MISH), includes the hybridization of RNA-specific target probes followed by signal amplification achieved through a cascade of hybridization events, ending with the binding of amplifier-specific detector probes. The detector probes are tagged with isotopically pure metal atoms used for detection by mass cytometry. Proof-of-principle experiments show the simultaneous detection of three mRNA targets in Jurkat cells in suspension cell assay mode. The localization of transcripts was also investigated using the imaging mass cytometry platform in Jurkat and KG-1a cells. In addition, we optimized the antibody staining procedure to allow the co-detection of mRNA and cell surface markers. Our data demonstrate that MISH can be used to complement protein detection by mass cytometry as well as to investigate gene transcription and translation in single cells.


Mavropoulos, A., Allo, B., He, M. et al. "Simultaneous Detection of Protein and mRNA in Jurkat and KG-1a Cells by Mass Cytometry" Cytometry Part A (2017): 1,200-8