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Published June 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Microfluidics-Based Single-Cell Functional Proteomics for Fundamental and Applied Biomedical Applications


We review an emerging microfluidics-based toolkit for single-cell functional proteomics. Functional proteins include, but are not limited to, the secreted signaling proteins that can reflect the biological behaviors of immune cells or the intracellular phosphoproteins associated with growth factor–stimulated signaling networks. Advantages of the microfluidics platforms are multiple. First, 20 or more functional proteins may be assayed simultaneously from statistical numbers of single cells. Second, cell behaviors (e.g., motility) may be correlated with protein assays. Third, extensions to quantized cell populations can permit measurements of cell–cell interactions. Fourth, rare cells can be functionally identified and then separated for further analysis or culturing. Finally, certain assay types can provide a conduit between biology and the physicochemical laws. We discuss the history and challenges of the field then review design concepts and uses of the microchip platforms that have been reported, with an eye toward biomedical applications. We then look to the future of the field.

Additional Information

© 2014 Annual Reviews. First published online as a Review in Advance on June 2, 2014. A portion of the science described in this review was funded by the National Cancer Institute grants 5U54CA119347 and R01 CA170689-01, the Jean Perkins Foundation, and the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation. The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.

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