from Biotechniques by Jeffrey M. Perkel, PhD
By combining technologies, a new method reports both the expression and localization of thousands of RNA transcripts simultaneously. How will this approach change the way we see gene expression? Find out…
When researchers measure gene expression, they typically read the aggregate RNA abundance over a population of cells. But just as not all stadium-goers cheer when the home team scores during a baseball game, single cells don’t necessarily behave the same as the population as a whole. As a result, researchers increasingly are turning to single-cell methods.
Single-cell transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) is one option, but it loses subcellular localization information by effectively treating the cell as a homogenous sphere. Another choice, RNA fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), maintains subcellular detail but supports exploration of only four or five transcripts at once.
Now George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues have developed a technique they call FISSEQ (fluorescent in situ RNA sequencing), which blends the power of RNA FISH and RNA-seq to report the subcellular localization of several thousand genes simultaneously (1).