Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications
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ItemStemformatics: visualize and download curated stem cell dataChoi, J ; Pacheco, CM ; Mosbergen, R ; Korn, O ; Chen, T ; Nagpal, I ; Englart, S ; Angel, PW ; Wells, CA (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-01-08)Stemformatics is an established gene expression data portal containing over 420 public gene expression datasets derived from microarray, RNA sequencing and single cell profiling technologies. Developed for the stem cell community, it has a major focus on pluripotency, tissue stem cells, and staged differentiation. Stemformatics includes curated 'collections' of data relevant to cell reprogramming, as well as hematopoiesis and leukaemia. Rather than simply rehosting datasets as they appear in public repositories, Stemformatics uses a stringent set of quality control metrics and its own pipelines to process handpicked datasets from raw files. This means that about 30% of datasets processed by Stemformatics fail the quality control metrics and never make it to the portal, ensuring that Stemformatics data are of high quality and have been processed in a consistent manner. Stemformatics provides easy-to-use and intuitive tools for biologists to visually explore the data, including interactive gene expression profiles, principal component analysis plots and hierarchical clusters, among others. The addition of tools that facilitate cross-dataset comparisons provides users with snapshots of gene expression in multiple cell and tissues, assisting the identification of cell-type restricted genes, or potential housekeeping genes. Stemformatics is freely available at stemformatics.org.
ItemA simple, scalable approach to building a cross-platform transcriptome atlasAngel, PW ; Rajab, N ; Deng, Y ; Pacheco, CM ; Chen, T ; Le Cao, K-A ; Choi, J ; Wells, CA ; Fertig, EJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-09-01)Gene expression atlases have transformed our understanding of the development, composition and function of human tissues. New technologies promise improved cellular or molecular resolution, and have led to the identification of new cell types, or better defined cell states. But as new technologies emerge, information derived on old platforms becomes obsolete. We demonstrate that it is possible to combine a large number of different profiling experiments summarised from dozens of laboratories and representing hundreds of donors, to create an integrated molecular map of human tissue. As an example, we combine 850 samples from 38 platforms to build an integrated atlas of human blood cells. We achieve robust and unbiased cell type clustering using a variance partitioning method, selecting genes with low platform bias relative to biological variation. Other than an initial rescaling, no other transformation to the primary data is applied through batch correction or renormalisation. Additional data, including single-cell datasets, can be projected for comparison, classification and annotation. The resulting atlas provides a multi-scaled approach to visualise and analyse the relationships between sets of genes and blood cell lineages, including the maturation and activation of leukocytes in vivo and in vitro. In allowing for data integration across hundreds of studies, we address a key reproduciblity challenge which is faced by any new technology. This allows us to draw on the deep phenotypes and functional annotations that accompany traditional profiling methods, and provide important context to the high cellular resolution of single cell profiling. Here, we have implemented the blood atlas in the open access Stemformatics.org platform, drawing on its extensive collection of curated transcriptome data. The method is simple, scalable and amenable for rapid deployment in other biological systems or computational workflows.
ItemPharmacological validation of targets regulating CD14 during macrophage differentiationJimenez-Duran, G ; Luque-Martin, R ; Patel, M ; Koppe, E ; Bernard, S ; Sharp, C ; Buchan, N ; Rea, C ; de Winther, MPJ ; Turan, N ; Angell, D ; Wells, CA ; Cousins, R ; Mander, PK ; Masters, SL (ELSEVIER, 2020-11-01)The signalling receptor for LPS, CD14, is a key marker of, and facilitator for, pro-inflammatory macrophage function. Pro-inflammatory macrophage differentiation remains a process facilitating a broad array of disease pathologies, and has recently emerged as a potential target against cytokine storm in COVID19. Here, we perform a whole-genome CRISPR screen to identify essential nodes regulating CD14 expression in myeloid cells, using the differentiation of THP-1 cells as a starting point. This strategy uncovers many known pathways required for CD14 expression and regulating macrophage differentiation while additionally providing a list of novel targets either promoting or limiting this process. To speed translation of these results, we have then taken the approach of independently validating hits from the screen using well-curated small molecules. In this manner, we identify pharmacologically tractable hits that can either increase CD14 expression on non-differentiated monocytes or prevent CD14 upregulation during macrophage differentiation. An inhibitor for one of these targets, MAP2K3, translates through to studies on primary human monocytes, where it prevents upregulation of CD14 following M-CSF induced differentiation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to LPS. Therefore, this screening cascade has rapidly identified pharmacologically tractable nodes regulating a critical disease-relevant process.
ItemIdentification of a Sacral, Visceral Sensory Transcriptome in Embryonic and Adult MiceSmith-Anttila, CJA ; Mason, EA ; Wells, CA ; Aronow, BJ ; Osborne, PB ; Keast, JR (SOC NEUROSCIENCE, 2020-01-01)Visceral sensory neurons encode distinct sensations from healthy organs and initiate pain states that are resistant to common analgesics. Transcriptome analysis is transforming our understanding of sensory neuron subtypes but has generally focused on somatic sensory neurons or the total population of neurons in which visceral neurons form the minority. Our aim was to define transcripts specifically expressed by sacral visceral sensory neurons, as a step towards understanding the unique biology of these neurons and potentially leading to identification of new analgesic targets for pelvic visceral pain. Our strategy was to identify genes differentially expressed between sacral dorsal root ganglia (DRG) that include somatic neurons and sacral visceral neurons, and adjacent lumbar DRG that comprise exclusively of somatic sensory neurons. This was performed in adult and E18.5 male and female mice. By developing a method to restrict analyses to nociceptive Trpv1 neurons, a larger group of genes were detected as differentially expressed between spinal levels. We identified many novel genes that had not previously been associated with pelvic visceral sensation or nociception. Limited sex differences were detected across the transcriptome of sensory ganglia, but more were revealed in sacral levels and especially in Trpv1 nociceptive neurons. These data will facilitate development of new tools to modify mature and developing sensory neurons and nociceptive pathways.
ItemTranscriptional Profiling of Stem Cells: Moving from Descriptive to Predictive ParadigmsWells, CA ; Choi, J (CELL PRESS, 2019-08-13)Transcriptional profiling is a powerful tool commonly used to benchmark stem cells and their differentiated progeny. As the wealth of stem cell data builds in public repositories, we highlight common data traps, and review approaches to combine and mine this data for new cell classification and cell prediction tools. We touch on future trends for stem cell profiling, such as single-cell profiling, long-read sequencing, and improved methods for measuring molecular modifications on chromatin and RNA that bring new challenges and opportunities for stem cell analysis.
ItemUnique properties of a subset of human pluripotent stem cells with high capacity for self-renewalLau, KX ; Mason, EA ; Kie, J ; De Souza, DP ; Kloehn, J ; Tull, D ; McConville, MJ ; Keniry, A ; Beck, T ; Blewitt, ME ; Ritchie, ME ; Naik, SH ; Zalcenstein, D ; Korn, O ; Su, S ; Romero, IG ; Spruce, C ; Baker, CL ; McGarr, TC ; Wells, CA ; Pera, MF (Nature Research, 2020-05-15)Archetypal human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) are widely considered to be equivalent in developmental status to mouse epiblast stem cells, which correspond to pluripotent cells at a late post-implantation stage of embryogenesis. Heterogeneity within hPSC cultures complicates this interspecies comparison. Here we show that a subpopulation of archetypal hPSC enriched for high self-renewal capacity (ESR) has distinct properties relative to the bulk of the population, including a cell cycle with a very low G1 fraction and a metabolomic profile that reflects a combination of oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis. ESR cells are pluripotent and capable of differentiation into primordial germ cell-like cells. Global DNA methylation levels in the ESR subpopulation are lower than those in mouse epiblast stem cells. Chromatin accessibility analysis revealed a unique set of open chromatin sites in ESR cells. RNA-seq at the subpopulation and single cell levels shows that, unlike mouse epiblast stem cells, the ESR subset of hPSC displays no lineage priming, and that it can be clearly distinguished from gastrulating and extraembryonic cell populations in the primate embryo. ESR hPSC correspond to an earlier stage of post-implantation development than mouse epiblast stem cells.