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Single cell atlas of domestic pig brain illuminates the conservation and divergence of cell types at spatial and species levels

By Dongsheng Chen, Jiacheng Zhu, Jixing Zhong, Fang Chen, Xiumei Lin, Jinxia Dai, Yin Chen, Shiyou Wang, Xiangning Ding, Haoyu Wang, Jiaying Qiu, Feiyue Wang, Weiying Wu, Ping Liu, Gen Tang, Xin Qiu, Yetian Ruan, Jiankang Li, Shida Zhu, Xun Xu, Fang Li, Zhongmin Liu, Gang Cao

Posted 12 Dec 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2019.12.11.872721

Abstract: Domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) has drawn much attention from researchers worldwide due to its implications in evolutionary biology, regenerative medicine and agriculture. The brain atlas of Homo sapiens (primate), Mus musculus (rodent), Danio rerio (fish) and Drosophila melanogaster (insect) have been constructed at single cell resolution, however, the cellular compositions of pig brain remain largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated the single-cell transcriptomic profiles of five distinct regions of domestic pig brain, from which we identified 21 clusters corresponding to six major cell types, characterized by unique spectrum of gene expression. By spatial comparison, we identified cell types enriched or depleted in certain brain regions. Inter-species comparison revealed cell-type similarities and divergences in hypothalamus between mouse and pig, providing invaluable resources for the evolutionary exploration of brain functions at single cell level. Besides, our study revealed cell types and molecular pathways closely associated with several diseases (obesity, anorexia, bulimia, epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism spectrum disorder), bridging the gap between gene mutations and pathological phenotypes, which might be of great use to the development precise therapies against neural system disorders. Taken together, we reported, so far as we know, the first single cell brain atlas of Sus scrofa domesticus, followed by comprehensive comparisons across brain region and species, which could throw light upon future evo-devo, regenerative medicine, and agricultural studies.

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