RNA abundance is a powerful indicator of the state of individual cells. Single-cell RNA sequencing can reveal RNA abundance with high quantitative accuracy, sensitivity and throughput. However, this approach captures only a static snapshot at a point in time, posing a challenge for the analysis of time-resolved phenomena such as embryogenesis or tissue regeneration. Here we show that RNA velocity-the time derivative of the gene expression state-can be directly estimated by distinguishing between unspliced and spliced mRNAs in common single-cell RNA sequencing protocols. RNA velocity is a high-dimensional vector that predicts the future state of individual cells on a timescale of hours. We validate its accuracy in the neural crest lineage, demonstrate its use on multiple published datasets and technical platforms, reveal the branching lineage tree of the developing mouse hippocampus, and examine the kinetics of transcription in human embryonic brain. We expect RNA velocity to greatly aid the analysis of developmental lineages and cellular dynamics, particularly in humans.
The primary sensory system requires the integrated function of multiple cell types, although its full complexity remains unclear. We used comprehensive transcriptome analysis of 622 single mouse neurons to classify them in an unbiased manner, independent of any a priori knowledge of sensory subtypes. Our results reveal eleven types: three distinct low-threshold mechanoreceptive neurons, two proprioceptive, and six principal types of thermosensitive, itch sensitive, type C low-threshold mechanosensitive and nociceptive neurons with markedly different molecular and operational properties. Confirming previously anticipated major neuronal types, our results also classify and provide markers for new, functionally distinct subtypes. For example, our results suggest that itching during inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis is linked to a distinct itch-generating type. We demonstrate single-cell RNA-seq as an effective strategy for dissecting sensory responsive cells into distinct neuronal types. The resulting catalog illustrates the diversity of sensory types and the cellular complexity underlying somatic sensation.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) has become a valuable and widely used approach for mapping the genomic location of transcription-factor binding and histone modifications in living cells. Despite its widespread use, there are considerable differences in how these experiments are conducted, how the results are scored and evaluated for quality, and how the data and metadata are archived for public use. These practices affect the quality and utility of any global ChIP experiment. Through our experience in performing ChIP-seq experiments, the ENCODE and modENCODE consortia have developed a set of working standards and guidelines for ChIP experiments that are updated routinely. The current guidelines address antibody validation, experimental replication, sequencing depth, data and metadata reporting, and data quality assessment. We discuss how ChIP quality, assessed in these ways, affects different uses of ChIP-seq data. All data sets used in the analysis have been deposited for public viewing and downloading at the ENCODE
Single-cell data provides means to dissect the composition of complex tissues and specialized cellular environments. However, the analysis of such measurements is complicated by high levels of technical noise and intrinsic biological variability. We describe a probabilistic model of expression magnitude distortions typical of single-cell RNA sequencing measurements, which enables detection of differential expression signatures and identification of subpopulations of cells in a way that is more tolerant of noise.
Summary Chromatin is composed of DNA and a variety of modified histones and non-histone proteins, which impact cell differentiation, gene regulation and other key cellular processes. We present a genome-wide chromatin landscape for Drosophila melanogaster based on 18 histone modifications, summarized by 9 prevalent combinatorial patterns. Integrative analysis with other data (non-histone chromatin proteins, DNaseI hypersensitivity, GRO-seq reads produced by engaged polymerase, short/long RNA products) reveals discrete characteristics of chromosomes, genes, regulatory elements, and other functional domains. We find that active genes display distinct chromatin signatures that are correlated with disparate gene lengths, exon patterns, regulatory functions, and genomic contexts. We also demonstrate a diversity of signatures among Polycomb targets that include a subset with paused polymerase. This systematic profiling and integrative analysis of chromatin signatures provides insights into how genomic elements are regulated, and will serve as a resource for future experimental investigations of genome structure and function.
To gain insight into how genomic information is translated into cellular and developmental programs, the Drosophila model organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE) project is comprehensively mapping transcripts, histone modifications, chromosomal proteins, transcription factors, replication proteins and intermediates, and nucleosome properties across a developmental time course and in multiple cell lines. We have generated more than 700 data sets and discovered protein-coding, noncoding, RNA regulatory, replication, and chromatin elements, more than tripling the annotated portion of the Drosophila genome. Correlated activity patterns of these elements reveal a functional regulatory network, which predicts putative new functions for genes, reveals stage- and tissue-specific regulators, and enables gene-expression prediction. Our results provide a foundation for directed experimental and computational studies in Drosophila and related species and also a model for systematic data integration toward comprehensive genomic and functional annotation.
Recent progress in massively parallel sequencing platforms has allowed for genome-wide measurements of DNA-associated proteins using a combination of chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq). While a variety of methods exist for analysis of the established microarray alternative (ChIP-chip), few approaches have been described for processing ChIP-seq data. To fill this gap, we propose an analysis pipeline specifically designed to detect protein binding positions with high accuracy. Using three separate datasets, we illustrate new methods for improving tag alignment and correcting for background signals. We also compare sensitivity and spatial precision of several novel and previously described binding detection algorithms. Finally, we analyze the relationship between the depth of sequencing and characteristics of the detected binding positions, and provide a method for estimating the sequencing depth necessary for a desired coverage of protein binding sites.
Transposable elements (TEs) are abundant in the human genome, and some are capable of generating new insertions through RNA intermediates. In cancer, the disruption of cellular mechanisms that normally suppress TE activity may facilitate mutagenic retrotranspositions. We performed single-nucleotide resolution analysis of TE insertions in 43 high-coverage whole-genome sequencing data sets from five cancer types. We identified 194 high-confidence somatic TE insertions, as well as thousands of polymorphic TE insertions in matched normal genomes. Somatic insertions were present in epithelial tumors but not in blood or brain cancers. Somatic L1 insertions tend to occur in genes that are commonly mutated in cancer, disrupt the expression of the target genes, and are biased toward regions of cancer-specific DNA hypomethylation, highlighting their potential impact in tumorigenesis.
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