Tellurium-based mass cytometry barcode for live and fixed cells

Cytometry A. 2018 Jul;93(7):685-694. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.23495. Epub 2018 Jul 27.


Mass cytometry is a revolutionary technology that allows for the simultaneous quantification of >40 different biomarkers with cellular resolution. The biomarkers are detected using metal-labeled antibodies as well as small-molecule probes of cell size, viability, and biochemical status. Barcoding is an important component of sample preparation because it reduces processing time, eliminates sample-to-sample variation, discriminates cell doublets, reduces the amount of antibody needed, and conserves sample. We developed a thiol-reactive tellurium-based barcode, TeMal. TeMal is nontoxic at working concentrations, compatible with metal-labeled antibodies, and can readily be applied to live or fixed cells, making it advantageous and complementary compared to existing barcoding reagents. We have demonstrated the utility of TeMal by barcoding microscale samples in situ to facilitate analysis of cells from an automated cell culture system using mass cytometry.

Keywords: CallistoTM; CyTOF-2TM; HeliosTM mRNA-Seq; Key terms mass cytometry; barcode; mass tag; tellurium; tellurophene; toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / chemistry
  • Biomarkers / chemistry
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*
  • Tellurium / chemistry*


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Tellurium