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Unsupervised deconvolution of molecular heterogeneity uncovers novel signatures and glia-neuron ratio

By Lulu Chen, Niya Wang, Chunyu Liu, David M. Herrington, Robert Clarke, Zhen Zhang, Yue Wang

Posted 05 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/435677

While the two major types of cells in the brain are known to be glia and neuron, the true ratio of glia to neurons in the brain remains a mystery. One of recent studies reveals that the ratio of glia to neurons in the brain varies from one region to another, sometimes dramatically. Here we report a study that applies UNsupervised DecOnvolution version 2 (UNDO2.0) software tool to the gene expression and DNA methylation data acquired from heterogeneous brain tissues. UNDO2.0 can automatically detect cell-specific markers located on the scatter radii of mixed gene expressions, estimate cellular proportions in each sample, and deconvolve mixed expressions into cell-specific expression profiles. The in-silico analysis uncovers many novel marker genes and provides a molecularly-defined 2.2:1 ratio of glia to neurons in the brain.

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