The Seq-Well protocol uses PCTE membranes in an innovative platform for rapid single-cell transcriptomics. This powerful tool in the world of clinical discovery offers a precise snapshot of cellular behavior.
As the product of a joint research venture between the Shalek and Love groups at MIT, this portable device combines single-cell sequencing with microfluidics technology. The system enables researchers to study RNA transcripts present in numerous individual cells at a given point in time. Thousands of cells undergo parallel RNA sequencing for thousands of genes, yielding large sets of data that indicate patterns in gene expression. For example, data collected by the developers of this technology has been used to implicate basal cellular heterogeneity in individual tuberculosis responses.1
In the Seq-Well system, a nanowell array captures single cells for sequencing. These wells are protected by a semipermeable membrane, which allows for lysis chemicals to pass through but retains the subsequently freed RNA for collection on barcoded beads. The freed RNA is then sequenced using next-generation methods.
The protocol utilizes Sterlitech’s 0.01 micron pore size polycarbonate track-etch (PCTE) membrane filters; the 62 x 22 mm rectangular filters undergo plasma treatment and additional modifications to create the semipermeable membrane necessary for RNA collection. Our goal is to equip researchers with the tools they need to push the boundaries of science and technology.
 Gierahn, T. et al. Seq-Well: portable, low-cost RNA sequencing of single cells at high throughput. Nature Methods 14, 395-398 (2017).