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Time and space dimensions of gene dosage imbalance of aneuploidies revealed by single cell transcriptomes.

By Georgios Stamoulis, Marco Garieri, Periklis Makrythanasis, Audrey Letourneau, Michel Guipponi, Nikolaos Panousis, Frédérique Sloan-Béna, Emilie Falconnet, Pascale Ribaux, Christelle Borel, Federico A. Santoni, Stylianos E. Antonarakis

Posted 23 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/424887

The mechanisms underlying cellular and organismal phenotypes due to copy number alterations (CNA) are not fully understood. Aneuploidy is a major source of gene dosage imbalance due to CNA and viable human trisomies are model disorders of altered gene expression. To understand the cellular impact of gene dosage imbalance, we studied gene and allele specific expression (ASE) of 9668 single-cell fibroblasts in trisomies T21, T18, T13 and T8. To limit the bias of interindividual noise, all comparisons between euploid and trisomic single-cells were performed on an isogenic setting for all trisomies studied. Initially we examined 928 single cells with deep RNA-Seq. For T21 we used fibroblasts from one pair of monozygotic twins discordant for T21 and from mosaic T21. For T18, T13 and T8 we analyzed single cells from mosaic individuals. Single-cell analyses revealed inconsistencies concerning the overexpression of some genes observed in differential trisomic vs euploid bulk RNAseq while this imbalance was not detectable in trisomic vs. euploid single cells. Moreover, ASE profiling of all single cells uncovered a substantial monoallelic pattern of expression in the trisomic fraction of the genome. By classifying genes according to the level of mono and bi-allelic transcription, we have observed that, for genes with monoallelic and low-to-average expression, the altered gene dosage is mainly due to the higher fraction of cells simultaneously expressing these genes in the trisomic samples. These results were confirmed in a further experiment of 8740 single fibroblasts from the monozygotic twins discordant for T21 samples. We conclude that gene dosage imbalance is of bidimensional nature: over time (simultaneous expression of all alleles resulting in increased accumulation of RNA of copy altered genes in each single cell) as previously stated, and over space (increased fraction of cells simultaneously expressing copy altered genes). These results strongly suggest that each class of genes contributes to the phenotypic variability of trisomies according to its temporal and spatial behavior and propose an improved model to understand the effects of copy number alterations.

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