Global quantification of protein abundances in single cells could provide direct information on cellular phenotypes and complement transcriptomics measurements. However, single-cell proteomics is still immature and confronts many technical challenges. Herein we describe a nested nanoPOTS (N2) chip to improve protein recovery, operation robustness, and processing throughput for isobaric-labeling-based scProteomics workflow. The N2 chip reduces reaction volume to <30 nL and increases capacity to >240 single cells on a single microchip. The tandem mass tag (TMT) pooling step is simplified by adding a microliter droplet on the nested nanowells to combine labeled single-cell samples. In the analysis of ~100 individual cells from three different cell lines, we demonstrate that the N2 chip-based scProteomics platform can robustly quantify ~1500 proteins and reveal membrane protein markers. Our analyses also reveal low protein abundance variations, suggesting the single-cell proteome profiles are highly stable for the cells cultured under identical conditions.
© 2021. This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply.