Heterogeneity of cellular systems has been widely recognized but only recently have tools become available that allow probing of genes and proteins in single cells to understand it. While the advancement in single cell genomic analysis has been greatly aided by the power of amplification techniques (e.g. PCR), analysis of proteins in single cells has proven to be more challenging. However, recent advances in multi-parameter flow cytometry, microscopy, microfluidics and other techniques have made it possible to measure wide variety of proteins in single cells. In this review, we highlight key recent developments in analysis of proteins in a single cell (excluding imaging-based methods), and discuss their significance in biological research.
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