Development and Application of High-Throughput Single Cell Lipid Profiling: A Study of SNCA-A53T Human Dopamine Neurons


University of Cambridge, Royal Holloway University of London


  • Combining FACS and LESA-MS to establish high-throughput single cell lipid profiling
  • Lipid differences found within and between populations of human dopamine neurons
  • Inter-cell lipid heterogeneity is increased in SNCA-A53T dopamine neurons
  • Identification and isolation of human iPSC-dopamine neurons with a TH-RFP reporter


Advances in single cell genomics and transcriptomics have shown that at tissue level there is complex cellular heterogeneity. To understand the effect of this inter-cell heterogeneity on metabolism, it is essential to develop a single cell lipid profiling approach that allows the measurement of lipids in large numbers of single cells from a population. This will provide a functional readout of cell activity and membrane structure. Using liquid extraction surface analysis coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry we have developed a high-throughput method for untargeted single cell lipid profiling. This technological advance highlighted the importance of cellular heterogeneity in the functional metabolism of individual human dopamine neurons, suggesting that A53T alpha-synuclein (SNCA) mutant neurons have impaired membrane function. These results demonstrate that this single cell lipid profiling platform can provide robust data that will expand the frontiers in biomedical research.