Exploring Metabolic Configurations of Single Cells within Complex Tissue Microenvironments
Over the past years, plenty of evidence has emerged illustrating how metabolism supports many aspects of cellular function and how metabolic reprogramming can drive cell differentiation and fate. Here, we present a method to assess the metabolic configuration of single cells within their native tissue microenvironment via the visualization and quantification of multiple enzymatic activities measured at saturating substrate conditions combined with subsequent cell type identification. After careful validation of the approach and to demonstrate its potential, we assessed the intracellular metabolic configuration of different human immune cell populations in healthy and tumor colon tissue. Additionally, we analyzed the intercellular metabolic relationship between cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts in a breast cancer tissue array. This study demonstrates that the determination of metabolic configurations in single cells could be a powerful complementary tool for every researcher interested to study metabolic networks in situ.
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