Single-cell RNA-sequencing of the brain

Cuevas-Diaz Duran, R., Wei, H., Wu, J.Q.

Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) is revolutionizing our understanding of the genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic landscapes of cells within organs. The mammalian brain is composed of a complex network of millions to billions of diverse cells with either highly specialized functions or support functions. With scRNA-seq it is possible to comprehensively dissect the cellular heterogeneity of brain cells, and elucidate their specific functions and state. In this review, we describe the current experimental methods used for scRNA-seq. We also review bioinformatic tools and algorithms for data analyses and discuss critical challenges. Additionally, we summarized recent mouse brain scRNA-seq studies and systematically compared their main experimental approaches, computational tools implemented, and important findings. scRNA-seq has allowed researchers to identify diverse cell subpopulations within many brain regions, pinpointing gene signatures and novel cell markers, as well as addressing functional differences. Due to the complexity of the brain, a great deal of work remains to be accomplished. Defining specific brain cell types and functions is critical for understanding brain function as a whole in development, health, and diseases.


Cuevas-Diaz Duran, R., Wei, H., Wu, J.Q. "Single-cell RNA-sequencing of the brain" Clinical and Translational Medicine (2017): 20