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Terminator Upgrades Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Technology

A new method for DNA amplification and sequencing improves the accuracy of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). The new method uses a terminal transferase enzyme that amplifies and sequences DNA complementary (cDNA) to mRNA in solid phase on a nanowell/bead-based cell isolation platform. The use of a dideoxynucleotide triphosphate (ddNTP) terminates the sequencing reaction catalyzed by the terminal transferase and helps reduce variations and handing errors.

Sequencing Aggressive Cells Identifies Targets in Heterogenous Cancers Expeditiously

A collaborative team of scientists in the Netherlands have developed a new technology to select aggressive cancer cells from a heterogenous biopsy sample and sequence them individually to link genomic or transcriptomic profiles with functional cellular characteristics. The new technology could help unravel molecular mechanisms driving the growth of tumor-cell subpopulations much faster than existing technologies. The platform includes a custom-built ultrawide field optical microscope, fast automated image analysis and a visible-light-activatable dye.

Genetic Ancestry Shapes Immune Response to Influenza

Scientists compared genetic signatures in a variety of immune cells from men of European- and African-ancestry to show genetic ancestry affects immune-related gene expression pathways in a cell type specific manner. The authors showed higher levels of European ancestry are associated with increased type I interferon pathway activity in early infection, which predicts reduced viral titers at later time points. The authors also showed genetic ancestry–associated genes are enriched among genes correlated with COVID-19 disease severity. The study suggests early immune response contributes to ancestry-associated differences for multiple viral infection outcomes.

Single-Cell Insights on Inaccessible Tumor Environments Expand Therapeutic Options

Scientists at the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute compare the immune landscapes of leptomeningeal melanoma metastases (LMM) and melanoma brain metastases (MBM) using single-cell RNA-seq, identifying key differences in the tumor microenvironment that may result in the development of improved therapeutics.