In-situ single cell lipidomics by Imaging Mass Spectrometry

Cell-to-cell variability plays a key role in development by setting initial asymmetry that, after feedback-driven amplification determines cell fate decisions. Indeed, fluctuations in the activity of regulatory molecules in individual cells drive selected differentiation pathways and cell-to-cell variability can diversify the response of a cell community to its environment. Recent technological advances in omics techniques have provided scientists with tools to study the global variability associated with large numbers of individual cells. However, studies assessing the role of cell-to-cell lipid variability are still limited to a few examples and do not cover significant parts of the lipidome. The aim of the project is to study the role of lipids fluctuations in cell population, in symmetry breaking and tissue patterning where, specific lipid transitions can be required to support self-organized morphogenesis, by coupling the use of standard lipidomics and of MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry.