Hearing and balance rely on small sensory hair cells that reside in the inner ear. To explore dynamic changes in the abundant proteins present in differentiating hair cells, we used nanoliter-scale shotgun mass spectrometry of single cells, each ~1 picoliter, from utricles of embryonic day 15 chickens. We identified unique constellations of proteins or protein groups from presumptive hair cells and from progenitor cells. The single-cell proteomes enabled the de novo reconstruction of a developmental trajectory using protein expression levels, revealing proteins that greatly increased in expression during differentiation of hair cells (e.g., OCM, CRABP1, GPX2, AK1, GSTO1) and those that decreased during differentiation (e.g., TMSB4X, AGR3). Complementary single-cell transcriptome profiling showed corresponding changes in mRNA during maturation of hair cells. Single-cell proteomics data thus can be mined to reveal features of cellular development that may be missed with transcriptomics.
- Peter G Barr-Gillespie
- Stefan Heller
- Ryan T Kelly
- Ying Zhu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Matthew W Kelley, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, United States
- Received: August 2, 2019
- Accepted: November 1, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: November 4, 2019 (version 1)
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