Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28892076
Nat. Biotechnol. 2017 Oct;35(10):977-982
Studies of the dynamics of the antibody-mediated immune response have been hampered by the absence of quantitative, high-throughput systems to analyze individual antibody-secreting cells. Here we describe a simple microfluidic system, DropMap, in which single cells are compartmentalized in tens of thousands of 40-pL droplets and analyzed in two-dimensional droplet arrays using a fluorescence relocation-based immunoassay. Using DropMap, we characterized antibody-secreting cells in mice immunized with tetanus toxoid (TT) over a 7-week protocol, simultaneously analyzing the secretion rate and affinity of IgG from over 0.5 million individual cells enriched from spleen and bone marrow. Immunization resulted in dramatic increases in the range of both single-cell secretion rates and affinities, which spanned at maximum 3 and 4 logs, respectively. We observed differences over time in dynamics of secretion rate and affinity within and between anatomical compartments. This system will not only enable immune monitoring and optimization of immunization and vaccination protocols but also potentiate antibody screening.