Single cell metabolism: current and future trends

Ahmed Ali, Shawn Davidson, Ernest Fraenkel, Ian Gilmore, Thomas Hankemeier, Jennifer A. Kirwan, Andrew N. Lane, Ingela Lanekoff, Mioara Larion, Laura Isobel McCall, Michael Murphy, Jonathan V. Sweedler, Caigang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Single cell metabolomics is an emerging and rapidly developing field that complements developments in single cell analysis by genomics and proteomics. Major goals include mapping and quantifying the metabolome in sufficient detail to provide useful information about cellular function in highly heterogeneous systems such as tissue, ultimately with spatial resolution at the individual cell level. The chemical diversity and dynamic range of metabolites poses particular challenges for detection, identification and quantification. In this review we discuss both significant technical issues of measurement and interpretation, and progress toward addressing them, with recent examples from diverse biological systems. We provide a framework for further directions aimed at improving workflow and robustness so that such analyses may become commonly applied, especially in combination with metabolic imaging and single cell transcriptomics and proteomics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
EF: Chan Zuckerberg Foundation Grant #: CZF2019-002436. ANL, CZ: COBRE Cancer and Metabolism 5P20GM121327. LIM: NIH R01AI168038, R21AI148886 and R21AI156669; PhRMA foundation, award number 45188; Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award. MM: NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canadian Graduate Scholarship. JVS: the National Institute on Drug Abuse through P30DA018310.

Funding Information:
This work is an extension of a Workshop on Single Cell Metabolomics of the Precision Medicine Task Group of the Metabolomics Society and MANA on Friday February 26, 2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Metabolic imaging
  • Single cell metabolism
  • Spatial metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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