Ultrasensitive detection of proteins and sugars at single-cell level

Satoshi Watabe, Mika Morikawa, Mugiho Kaneda, Kazunari Nakaishi, Akira Nakatsuma, Masaki Ninomiya, Teruki Yoshimura, Toshiaki Miura, Etsuro Ito*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Each cell produces its own responses even if it appears identical to other cells. To analyze these individual cell characteristics, we need to measure trace amounts of molecules in a single cell. Nucleic acids in a single cell can be easily amplified by polymerase chain reaction, but single-cell measurement of proteins and sugars will require de novo techniques. In the present study, we outline the techniques we have developed toward this end. For proteins, our ultrasensitive enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) coupled with thionicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide cycling can detect proteins at subattomoles per assay. For sugars, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy coupled with glucose oxidase-catalyzed reaction allows us to measure glucose at tens of nM. Our methods thus offer versatile techniques for single-cell-level analyses, and they are hoped to strongly promote single-cell biology as well as to develop noninvasive tests in clinical medicine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adiponectin
  • Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
  • HIV-1 p24
  • Insulin
  • Thio-NAD cycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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