Click chemistry-enabled DNA barcoding of cells provides a universal strategy for sample multiplexing in single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq). However, current ClickTags are limited to fixed samples as they only label cells efficiently in methanol. Herein, we report the development of a new protocol for barcoding live cells with improved ClickTags. The optimized reactions barcoded live cells without perturbing their physiological states, which allowed sample multiplexing of live cells in scRNA-seq. The general applicability of this protocol is demonstrated in diversified types of samples, including murine and human primary samples. Up to 16 samples across these two species are successfully multiplexed and demultiplexed with high consistency. The wide applications of this method could help to increase throughput, reduce cost and remove the batch effect in scRNA-seq, which is especially valuable for studying clinical samples from a large cohort.
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