Quantitative imaging of lipid droplets in single cells
The combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) and automated liquid handling platforms has led to a revolution in single-cell genomic studies. However, many molecules that are critical to understanding the functional roles of cells in a complex tissue or organs, are not directly encoded in the genome, and therefore cannot be profiled with NGS. Lipids, for example, play a critical role in many metabolic processes but cannot be detected by sequencing. Recent developments in quantitative imaging, particularly coherent Raman scattering (CRS) techniques, have produced a suite of tools for studying lipid content in single cells. This article reviews CRS imaging and computational image processing techniques for non-destructive profiling of dynamic changes in lipid composition and spatial distribution at the single-cell level. As quantitative CRS imaging progresses synergistically with microfluidic and microscopic platforms for single-cell genomic analysis, we anticipate that these techniques will bring researchers closer towards combined lipidomic and genomic analysis.