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  1. Abstract

    Quantitative assessment of single cell fluxome is critical for understanding the metabolic heterogeneity in diseases. Unfortunately, laboratory-based single cell fluxomics is currently impractical, and the current computational tools for flux estimation are not designed for single cell-level prediction. Given the well-established link between transcriptomic and metabolomic profiles, leveraging single cell transcriptomics data to predict single cell fluxome is not only feasible but also an urgent task. In this study, we present FLUXestimator, an online platform for predicting metabolic fluxome and variations using single cell or general transcriptomics data of large sample-size. The FLUXestimator webserver implements a recently developed unsupervised approach called single cell flux estimation analysis (scFEA), which uses a new neural network architecture to estimate reaction rates from transcriptomics data. To the best of our knowledge, FLUXestimator is the first web-based tool dedicated to predicting cell-/sample-wise metabolic flux and metabolite variations using transcriptomics data of human, mouse and 15 other common experimental organisms. The FLUXestimator webserver is available at, and stand-alone tools for local use are available at Our tool provides a new avenue for studying metabolic heterogeneity in diseases and has the potential to facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies.

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  2. Abstract

    Optical density (OD) is widely used to estimate the density of cells in liquid culture, but cannot be compared between instruments without a standardized calibration protocol and is challenging to relate to actual cell count. We address this with an interlaboratory study comparing three simple, low-cost, and highly accessible OD calibration protocols across 244 laboratories, applied to eight strains of constitutive GFP-expressingE. coli. Based on our results, we recommend calibrating OD to estimated cell count using serial dilution of silica microspheres, which produces highly precise calibration (95.5% of residuals  <1.2-fold), is easily assessed for quality control, also assesses instrument effective linear range, and can be combined with fluorescence calibration to obtain units of Molecules of Equivalent Fluorescein (MEFL) per cell, allowing direct comparison and data fusion with flow cytometry measurements: in our study, fluorescence per cell measurements showed only a 1.07-fold mean difference between plate reader and flow cytometry data.

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