Researchers at the Salk Institute have developed a new genomic technology that will simultaneously analyze the DNA, RNA, and chromatina combinations from a single cell. The technique, which took five years to develop, is an important step forward for large collaborations, where multiple teams are working simultaneously to classify tens of thousands of new cell types. The new technology, published inCell Genomicson March 9, 2022, will help streamline analyses.
According to Jaseph Ecker, the director of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, this multimodal platform will be beneficial by providing a comprehensive database that can be used by groups seeking to integrate their single-modality data.
Ecker believes this technology will be critical for large-scale initiatives, such as the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network, which he co-chairs. A significant effort of the BRAIN Initiative is to develop catalogues of mouse and human brain cell types. This information is then used to better understand how the brain grows and develops, as well as the role played by different cell types in neurodegenerative disorders.
The current single-cell technology involves extracting either DNA, RNA, or chromatin from the cell nucleus, and then analysing its molecular structure for patterns. However, this technique destroys the cell in the process, requiring researchers to depend on computational algorithms to analyze more than one of these components per cell or to compare the results.
Researchers combined biomarkers to identify DNA, RNA, and chromatin without leaving them from the cell. This allowed the researchers to measure all three types of molecular information in the same cell. The researchers then reviewed the effectiveness of computational methods for integrating multiple single-cell techniques. The findings suggest that diverse methods may be required to define cell types by a variety of measurements.
The technology might be used to better understand how genes and cells interact in order to cause neurodegenerative diseases.
These diseases can greatly affect many cell types. However, there may be certain cell populations that are particularly vulnerable, according to UCLA co-first authorChongyuan Luo, an assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Maryland. Genetic studies have identified the areas of the genome that are relevant for Alzheimers. Were updating another data dimension and identifying cell types affected by these genomic regions.
The team intends to use the new technology to examine other areas of the brain and to evaluate cells from healthy human brains with those from Alzheimer''s and other neurodegenerative diseases.