Research News

The latest in research findings utilizing cytometry across basic research and clinical applications. Research will be updated regularly to provide a resource for cytometry users to keep themselves informed of the latest advances in the field.

High-throughput genome-wide phenotypic screening via immunomagnetic cell sorting.

Genome-scale functional genetic screens are used to identify key genetic regulators of a phenotype of interest. However, the identification of genetic modifications that lead to a phenotypic change requires sorting large numbers of cells, which increases operational times and costs and limits cell viability. Here, we introduce immunomagnetic cell sorting facilitated by a microfluidic chip as a rapid and scalable high-throughput method for loss-of-function phenotypic screening using CRISPR–Cas9. We used the method to process an entire genome-wide screen containing more than 108 cells in less than 1 h—considerably surpassing the throughput achieved by fluorescence-activated cell sorting, the gold-standard technique for phenotypic cell sorting—while maintaining high levels of cell viability. We identified modulators of the display of CD47, which is a negative regulator of phagocytosis and an important cell-surface target for immuno-oncology drugs. The top hit of the screen, the glutaminyl cyclase QPCTL, was validated and shown to modify the N-terminal glutamine of CD47. The method presented could bridge the gap between fluorescence-activated cell sorting and less flexible yet higher-throughput systems such as magnetic-activated cell sorting.

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