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A cell atlas of the adult Drosophila midgut

By Ruei-Jiun Hung, Yanhui Hu, Rory Kirchner, Fangge Li, Chiwei Xu, Aram Comjean, Sudhir Gopal Tattikota, Wei Roc Song, Shannan Ho Sui, Norbert Perrimon

Posted 08 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/410423 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1916820117)

Studies of the adult Drosophila midgut have provided a number of insights on cell type diversity, stem cell regeneration, tissue homeostasis and cell fate decision. Advances in single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) provide opportunities to identify new cell types and molecular features. We used inDrop to characterize the transcriptome of midgut epithelial cells and identified 12 distinct clusters representing intestinal stem cells (ISCs), enteroblasts (EBs), enteroendocrine cells (EEs), enterocytes (ECs) from different regions, and cardia. This unbiased approach recovered 90% of the known ISCs/EBs markers, highlighting the high quality of the dataset. Gene set enrichment analysis in conjunction with electron micrographs revealed that ISCs are enriched in free ribosomes and possess mitochondria with fewer cristae. We demonstrate that a subset of EEs in the middle region of the midgut expresses the progenitor marker esg and that individual EEs are capable of expressing up to 4 different gut hormone peptides. We also show that the transcription factor klumpfuss (klu) is expressed in EBs and functions to suppress EE formation. Lastly, we provide a web-based resource for visualization of gene expression in single cells. Altogether, our study provides a comprehensive resource for addressing novel functions of genes in the midgut epithelium.

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