The quantification of elemental concentration in cells is usually performed by analytical assays on large populations missing peculiar but important rare cells. The present article aims at comparing the elemental quantification in single cells and cell population in three different cell types using a new approach for single cells elemental analysis performed at sub-micrometer scale combining X-ray fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The attention is focused on the light element Mg, exploiting the opportunity to compare the single cell quantification to the cell population analysis carried out by a highly Mg-selective fluorescent chemosensor. The results show that the single cell analysis reveals the same Mg differences found in large population of the different cell strains studied. However, in one of the cell strains, single cell analysis reveals two cells with an exceptionally high intracellular Mg content compared with the other cells of the same strain. The single cell analysis allows mapping Mg and other light elements in whole cells at sub-micrometer scale. A detailed intensity correlation analysis on the two cells with the highest Mg content reveals that Mg subcellular localization correlates with oxygen in a different fashion with respect the other sister cells of the same strain. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- Fluorescent chemosensors
- Light elements quantification
- Single cells analysis
- Synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry