The development of single-cell methods for capturing different data modalities including imaging and sequencing has revolutionized our ability to identify heterogeneous cell states. Different data modalities provide different perspectives on a population of cells, and their integration is critical for studying cellular heterogeneity and its function. While various methods have been proposed to integrate different sequencing data modalities, coupling imaging and sequencing has been an open challenge. We here present an approach for integrating vastly different modalities by learning a probabilistic coupling between the different data modalities using autoencoders to map to a shared latent space. We validate this approach by integrating single-cell RNA-seq and chromatin images to identify distinct subpopulations of human naive CD4+ T-cells that are poised for activation. Collectively, our approach provides a framework to integrate and translate between data modalities that cannot yet be measured within the same cell for diverse applications in biomedical discovery.
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- Nature Communications
- Nature Publishing Group
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- National Science Foundation
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Combined noninvasive metabolic and spindle imaging as potential tools for embryo and oocyte assessment
Abstract STUDY QUESTION
Is the combined use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)-based metabolic imaging and second harmonic generation (SHG) spindle imaging a feasible and safe approach for noninvasive embryo assessment?
Metabolic imaging can sensitively detect meaningful metabolic changes in embryos, SHG produces high-quality images of spindles and the methods do not significantly impair embryo viability.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Proper metabolism is essential for embryo viability. Metabolic imaging is a well-tested method for measuring metabolism of cells and tissues, but it is unclear if it is sensitive enough and safe enough for use in embryo assessment.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
Experiments were performed in mouse embryos and oocytes. Samples were monitored with noninvasive, FLIM-based metabolic imaging of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) autofluorescence. Between NADH cytoplasm, NADH mitochondria and FAD mitochondria, a single metabolic measurement produces up to 12 quantitative parameters for characterizing the metabolic state of an embryo. For safety experiments, live birth rates and pup weights (mean ± SEM) were used as endpoints. For all test conditions, the level of significance was set at P < 0.05.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
Measured FLIM parameters were highly sensitive to metabolic changes due to both metabolic perturbations and embryo development. For oocytes, metabolic parameter values were compared before and after exposure to oxamate and rotenone. The metabolic measurements provided a basis for complete separation of the data sets. For embryos, metabolic parameter values were compared between the first division and morula stages, morula and blastocyst and first division and blastocyst. The metabolic measurements again completely separated the data sets. Exposure of embryos to excessive illumination dosages (24 measurements) had no significant effect on live birth rate (5.1 ± 0.94 pups/mouse for illuminated group; 5.7 ± 1.74 pups/mouse for control group) or pup weights (1.88 ± 0.10 g for illuminated group; 1.89 ± 0.11 g for control group).
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
The study was performed using a mouse model, so conclusions concerning sensitivity and safety may not generalize to human embryos. A limitation of the live birth data is also that although cages were routinely monitored, we could not preclude that some runt pups may have been eaten.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
Promising proof-of-concept results demonstrate that FLIM with SHG provide detailed biological information that may be valuable for the assessment of embryo and oocyte quality. Live birth experiments support the method’s safety, arguing for further studies of the clinical utility of these techniques.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
Supported by the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator Grant at Harvard University and by the Harvard Catalyst/The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (National Institutes of Health Award UL1 TR001102), by NSF grants DMR-0820484 and PFI-TT-1827309 and by NIH grant R01HD092550-01. T.S. was supported by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology grant (1308878). S.F. and S.A. were supported by NSF MRSEC DMR-1420382. Becker and Hickl GmbH sponsored the research with the loaning of equipment for FLIM. T.S. and D.N. are cofounders and shareholders of LuminOva, Inc., and co-hold patents (US20150346100A1 and US20170039415A1) for metabolic imaging methods. D.S. is on the scientific advisory board for Cooper Surgical and has stock options with LuminOva, Inc.
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