Div-Seq: Single-nucleus RNA-Seq reveals dynamics of rare adult newborn neurons

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Science  26 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6302, pp. 925-928
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad7038

Visualizing gene expression in nuclei

Gene expression can vary greatly within a single cell. Using techniques that they developed for sequencing single nuclei and labeling proliferating cells in vivo, Habib et al. performed RNA sequencing of 1402 single nuclei from the adult mouse hippocampus. Combining this approach with a clustering algorithm for single-cell and -nucleus RNA sequencing data delineated specific cell types during cell differentiation and development. By providing polyadenylated RNA from nuclei alone, as opposed to cytoplasmic RNA, these methods open the application of single-cell transcriptomics to tissues in which individual cells are difficult to isolate.

Science, this issue p. 925


Single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) provides rich information about cell types and states. However, it is difficult to capture rare dynamic processes, such as adult neurogenesis, because isolation of rare neurons from adult tissue is challenging and markers for each phase are limited. Here, we develop Div-Seq, which combines scalable single-nucleus RNA-Seq (sNuc-Seq) with pulse labeling of proliferating cells by 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) to profile individual dividing cells. sNuc-Seq and Div-Seq can sensitively identify closely related hippocampal cell types and track transcriptional dynamics of newborn neurons within the adult hippocampal neurogenic niche, respectively. We also apply Div-Seq to identify and profile rare newborn neurons in the adult spinal cord, a noncanonical neurogenic region. sNuc-Seq and Div-Seq open the way for unbiased analysis of diverse complex tissues.

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