Droplet-based microfluidic analysis and screening of single plant cells

Ziyi Yu, Christian R. Boehm, Julian M. Hibberd, Chris Abell, Jim Haseloff, Steven J. Burgess, Ivan Reyna-Llorens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Droplet-based microfluidics has been used to facilitate high-throughput analysis of individual prokaryote and mammalian cells. However, there is a scarcity of similar workflows applicable to rapid phenotyping of plant systems where phenotyping analyses typically are time-consuming and low-throughput. We report on-chip encapsulation and analysis of protoplasts isolated from the emergent plant model Marchantia polymorpha at processing rates of >100,000 cells per hour. We use our microfluidic system to quantify the stochastic properties of a heat-inducible promoter across a population of transgenic protoplasts to demonstrate its potential for assessing gene expression activity in response to environmental conditions. We further demonstrate on-chip sorting of droplets containing YFP-expressing protoplasts from wild type cells using dielectrophoresis force. This work opens the door to droplet-based microfluidic analysis of plant cells for applications ranging from high-throughput characterisation of DNA parts to single-cell genomics to selection of rare plant phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0196810
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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