At the most fundamental level, the behavior of tissue is governed by the activity of its single cells. A detailed examination of single-cell biology is necessary in order to gain a deeper understanding of disease progression. While single-cell genomics and transcriptomics are mature due to robust amplification strategies, the metabolome is difficult to quantify. Nanoelectrochemical techniques stand poised to quantify single-cell metabolism as a result of the fabrication of nanoelectrodes, which allow one to make intracellular electrochemical measurements. This article is concerned with intracellular nanoelectrochemistry, focusing on the sensitive and selective quantification of various metabolites within a single, living cell. We will review the strong literature behind this field, discuss the potential deleterious effects of passing charge inside cells, and provide future outlooks for this promising avenue of inquiry. We also present a mathematical relationship based on Faraday’s Law and bulk electrolysis theory to examine the consumption of analyte within a cell due to passing charge at the nanotip.
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The authors acknowledge the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for financial support. We also greatly appreciate Sondrica Goines and Matthew Glasscott for helpful discussions and feedback.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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McCormick, H.K., Dick, J.E. Nanoelectrochemical quantification of single-cell metabolism. Anal Bioanal Chem 413, 17–24 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-020-02899-9
- Single-cell biology