An Innovative Approach to Tissue Processing and Cell Sorting of Fixed Cells for Subsequent Single-Cell RNA Sequencing.

Mutisheva, Ivanina; Robatel, Steve; Bäriswyl, Lukas; Schenk, Mirjam (2022). An Innovative Approach to Tissue Processing and Cell Sorting of Fixed Cells for Subsequent Single-Cell RNA Sequencing. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(18) MDPI 10.3390/ijms231810233

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Although single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is currently the gold standard for the analysis of cell-specific expression profiles, the options for processing, staining, and preserving fresh cells remain very limited. Immediate and correct tissue processing is a critical determinant of scRNA-seq success. One major limitation is the restricted compatibility of fixation approaches, which must not destabilize or alter antibody labeling or RNA content or interfere with cell integrity. An additional limitation is the availability of expensive, high-demand cell-sorting equipment to exclude debris and dead or unwanted cells before proceeding with sample sequencing. The goal of this study was to develop a method that allows cells to be fixed and stored prior to FACS sorting for scRNA-seq without compromising the quality of the results. Finally, the challenge of preserving as many living cells as possible during tissue processing is another crucial issue addressed in this study. Our study focused on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma samples, where the number of live cells is rather limited, as in many other tumor tissues. Harsh tissue dissociation methods and sample preparation for analysis can negatively affect cell viability. Using the murine pancreatic cancer model Pan02, we evaluated the semi-automated mechanical/enzymatic digestion of solid tumors by gentleMACS Dissociator and compared it with mechanical dissociation of the same tissue. Moreover, we investigated a type of cell fixation that is successful in preserving cell RNA integrity yet compatible with FACS and subsequent scRNA-sequencing. Our protocol allows tissue to be dissociated and stained in one day and proceeds to cell sorting and scRNA-seq later, which is a great advantage for processing clinical patient material.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Mutisheva, Ivanina Biserova; Robatel, Steve Jacquy; Bäriswyl, Lukas and Schenk, Mirjam


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2022 14:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:25

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

cell fixation fluorescence-activated cell sorting pancreatic cancer single-cell RNA sequencing




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