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Papers of the Week

2021 09 29

Nat Commun



A harmonized atlas of mouse spinal cord cell types and their spatial organization.


Russ DE, Cross R PB, Li L, Koch SC, Matson KJE, Yadav A, Alkaslasi MR, Lee DI, Le Pichon CE, Menon V, Levine AJ
Nat Commun. 2021 09 29; 12(1):5722.
PMID: 34588430.


Single-cell RNA sequencing data can unveil the molecular diversity of cell types. Cell type atlases of the mouse spinal cord have been published in recent years but have not been integrated together. Here, we generate an atlas of spinal cell types based on single-cell transcriptomic data, unifying the available datasets into a common reference framework. We report a hierarchical structure of postnatal cell type relationships, with location providing the highest level of organization, then neurotransmitter status, family, and finally, dozens of refined populations. We validate a combinatorial marker code for each neuronal cell type and map their spatial distributions in the adult spinal cord. We also show complex lineage relationships among postnatal cell types. Additionally, we develop an open-source cell type classifier, SeqSeek, to facilitate the standardization of cell type identification. This work provides an integrated view of spinal cell types, their gene expression signatures, and their molecular organization.