Predicting gene regulatory networks from cell atlases

Andreas Fønss Møller, Kedar Nath Natarajan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Recent single-cell RNA-sequencing atlases have surveyed and identified major cell types across different mouse tissues. Here, we computationally reconstruct gene regulatory networks from three major mouse cell atlases to capture functional regulators critical for cell identity, while accounting for a variety of technical differences, including sampled tissues, sequencing depth, and author assigned cell type labels. Extracting the regulatory crosstalk from mouse atlases, we identify and distinguish global regulons active in multiple cell types from specialised cell type-specific regulons. We demonstrate that regulon activities accurately distinguish individual cell types, despite differences between individual atlases. We generate an integrated network that further uncovers regulon modules with coordinated activities critical for cell types, and validate modules using available experimental data. Inferring regulatory networks during myeloid differentiation from wild-type and Irf8 KO cells, we uncover functional contribution of Irf8 regulon activity and composition towards monocyte lineage. Our analysis provides an avenue to further extract and integrate the regulatory crosstalk from single-cell expression data.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202000658
JournalLife Science Alliance
Issue number11
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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