Single-Cell Profiling of Coding and Noncoding Genes in Human Dopamine Neuron Differentiation


Dopaminergic (DA) neurons derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) represent a renewable and available source of cells useful for understanding development, developing disease models, and stem-cell therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD). To assess the utility of stem cell cultures as an in vitro model system of human DA neurogenesis, we performed high-throughput transcriptional profiling of ~20,000 ventral midbrain (VM)-patterned stem cells at different stages of maturation using droplet-based single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq). Using this dataset, we defined the cellular composition of human VM cultures at different timepoints and found high purity DA progenitor formation at an early stage of differentiation. DA neurons sharing similar molecular identities to those found in authentic DA neurons derived from human fetal VM were the major cell type after two months in culture. We also developed a bioinformatic pipeline that provided a comprehensive long noncoding RNA landscape based on temporal and cell-type specificity, which may contribute to unraveling the intricate regulatory network of coding and noncoding genes in DA neuron differentiation. Our findings serve as a valuable resource to elucidate the molecular steps of development, maturation, and function of human DA neurons, and to identify novel candidate coding and noncoding genes driving specification of progenitors into functionally mature DA neurons.

Authors Nilsson F, Storm P, Sozzi E, Hidalgo Gil D, Birtele M, Sharma Y, Parmar M, Fiorenzano A
Journal Cells
Publication Date 2021 Jan 12;10(1)
PubMed 33445654
PubMed Central PMC7827700
DOI 10.3390/cells10010137

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