Single-cell Metabolomics with Capillary Electrophoresis–Mass Spectrometry
Metabolic characterization of single cells serves as a powerful measure of the molecular activity state of cells, but is dependent on the availability of specialized analytical technologies. Capillary electrophoresis (CE)–mass spectrometry (MS) is one such technology that integrates sensitivity, label-free detection, and capability for quantification. This chapter discusses key steps of a successful single-cell study using CE–MS. Discussions are dedicated to the identification of cells, collection of sample materials, metabolite extraction, separation by CE, ionization by an electrospray or alternative ion source, and detection by MS. Where applicable, suggestions are provided to aid the robustness and confidence of single-cell measurements. Finally, representative successes are highlighted from contemporary studies on single cells using CE-MS.