Maïno N, Hauling T, Cappi G, Madaboosi N, Dupouy DG, Nilsson M
Sci Rep 9 (1) 3542 [2019-03-05; online 2019-03-05]
Advancements in multiplexed in situ RNA profiling techniques have given unprecedented insight into spatial organization of tissues by enabling single-molecule quantification and sub-micron localization of dozens to thousands of RNA species simultaneously in cells and entire tissue sections. However, the lack of automation of the associated complex experimental procedures represents a potential hurdle towards their routine use in laboratories. Here, we demonstrate an approach towards automated generation and sequencing of barcoded mRNA amplicons in situ, directly in fixed cells. This is achieved through adaptation of a microfluidic tool compatible with standard microscope slides and cover glasses. The adapted tool combines a programmable reagent delivery system with temperature controller and flow cell to perform established in situ sequencing protocols, comprising hybridization and ligation of gene-specific padlock probes, rolling circle amplification of the probes yielding barcoded amplicons and identification of amplicons through barcode sequencing. By adapting assay parameters (e.g. enzyme concentration and temperature), we achieve a near-identical performance in identifying mouse beta-actin transcripts, in comparison with the conventional manual protocol. The technically adapted assay features i) higher detection efficiency, ii) shorter protocol time, iii) lower consumption of oligonucleotide reagents but slightly more enzyme. Such an automated microfluidic tissue processor for in situ sequencing studies would greatly enhance its research potentials especially for cancer diagnostics, thus paving way to rapid and effective therapies.