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Enhancing single-cell cellular state inference by incorporating molecular network features

By Ji Dong, Peijie Zhou, Yichong Wu, Wendong Wang, Yidong Chen, Xin Zhou, Haoling Xie, Yuan Gao, Jiansen Lu, Jingwei Yang, Xiannian Zhang, Lu Wen, Wei Fu, Tiejun Li, Fuchou Tang

Posted 14 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/699959

In biological systems, genes function in conjunction rather than in isolation. However, traditional single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) analyses heavily rely on the transcriptional similarity of individual genes, ignoring the inherent gene-gene interactions. Here, we present SCORE, a network-based method, which incorporates the validated molecular network features to infer cellular states. Using real scRNA-seq datasets, SCORE outperforms existing methods in accuracy, robustness, scalability, data integration and removal of batch effect. When applying SCORE to a newly generated human ileal scRNA-seq dataset, we identified several novel stem/progenitor clusters, including a Cripto-1+ cluster. Moreover, two distinct groups of goblet cells were identified and only one of them tended to secrete mucus. Besides, we found that the recently identified BEST4+OTOP2+ microfold cells also highly expressed CFTR, which is different from their colonic counterparts. In summary, SCORE enhances cellular state inference by simulating the dynamic changes of molecular networks, providing more biological insights beyond statistical interpretations.

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