Non-genetic cell-to-cell variability and the consequences for pharmacology

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2009 Dec;13(5-6):556-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.09.015. Epub 2009 Oct 14.


Recent advances in single-cell assays have focused attention on the fact that even members of a genetically identical group of cells or organisms in identical environments can exhibit variability in drug sensitivity, cellular response, and phenotype. Underlying much of this variability is stochasticity in gene expression, which can produce unique proteomes even in genetically identical cells. Here we discuss the consequences of non-genetic cell-to-cell variability in the cellular response to drugs and its potential impact for the treatment of human disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells / drug effects*
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Cells / pathology
  • Drug Therapy
  • Humans
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pharmacological Phenomena*
  • Phenotype
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins