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Anal Chem. 2011 Oct 1;83(19):7269-75. doi: 10.1021/ac2013465. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Specific sorting of single bacterial cells with microfabricated fluorescence-activated cell sorting and tyramide signal amplification fluorescence in situ hybridization.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


When attempting to probe the genetic makeup of diverse bacterial communities that elude cell culturing, researchers face two primary challenges: isolation of rare bacteria from microbial samples and removal of contaminating cell-free DNA. We report a compact, low-cost, and high-performance microfabricated fluorescence-activated cell sorting (μFACS) technology in combination with a tyramide signal amplification fluorescence in situ hybridization (TSA-FISH) to address these two challenges. The TSA-FISH protocol that was adapted for flow cytometry yields a 10-30-fold enhancement in fluorescence intensity over standard FISH methods. The μFACS technology, capable of enhancing its sensitivity by ~18 dB through signal processing, was able to enrich TSA-FISH-labeled E. coli cells by 223-fold. The μFACS technology was also used to remove contaminating cell-free DNA. After two rounds of sorting on E. coli mixed with λ-phage DNA (10 ng/μL), we demonstrated over 100,000-fold reduction in λ-DNA concentration. The integrated μFACS and TSA-FISH technologies provide a highly effective and low-cost solution for research on the genomic complexity of bacteria as well as single-cell genomic analysis of other sample types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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