Zunder and Finck et al., from the Nolan Lab at Stanford University report new cell barcoding reagents for mass cytometry that incorporate the previously unused element palladium, expanding the number of mass cytometry measurement parameters by six. Leveraging this methodology, they present a new barcoding scheme which can be used to identify and remove cell doublets, as well as provide software that deconvolves barcoded datasets via a “single-cell debarcode” algorithm .
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Mass-tag cell barcoding (MCB) labels individual cell samples with unique combinatorial barcodes, after which they are pooled for processing and measurement as a single multiplexed sample. The MCB method eliminates variability between samples in antibody staining and instrument sensitivity, reduces antibody consumption and shortens instrument measurement time. Here we present an optimized MCB protocol. The use of palladium-based labeling reagents expands the number of measurement channels available for mass cytometry and reduces interference with lanthanide-based antibody measurement. An error-detecting combinatorial barcoding scheme allows cell doublets to be identified and removed from the analysis. A debarcoding algorithm that is single cell–based rather than population-based improves the accuracy and efficiency of sample deconvolution. This debarcoding algorithm has been packaged into software that allows rapid and unbiased sample deconvolution. The MCB procedure takes 3–4 h, not including sample acquisition time of ∼1 h per million cells.
 Palladium-based mass tag cell barcoding with a doublet-filtering scheme and single-cell deconvolution algorithm. Zunder E and Finck R et al. Nature Protocols (2015) 10, 316–333. doi:10.1038/nprot.2015.020