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  1. Umulis, David (Ed.)
    The vertebrate hindbrain is segmented into rhombomeres (r) initially defined by distinct domains of gene expression. Previous studies have shown that noise-induced gene regulation and cell sorting are critical for the sharpening of rhombomere boundaries, which start out rough in the forming neural plate (NP) and sharpen over time. However, the mechanisms controlling simultaneous formation of multiple rhombomeres and accuracy in their sizes are unclear. We have developed a stochastic multiscale cell-based model that explicitly incorporates dynamic morphogenetic changes (i.e. convergent-extension of the NP), multiple morphogens, and gene regulatory networks to investigate the formation of rhombomeres and their corresponding boundaries in the zebrafish hindbrain. During pattern initiation, the short-range signal, fibroblast growth factor (FGF), works together with the longer-range morphogen, retinoic acid (RA), to specify all of these boundaries and maintain accurately sized segments with sharp boundaries. At later stages of patterning, we show a nonlinear change in the shape of rhombomeres with rapid left-right narrowing of the NP followed by slower dynamics. Rapid initial convergence improves boundary sharpness and segment size by regulating cell sorting and cell fate both independently and coordinately. Overall, multiple morphogens and tissue dynamics synergize to regulate the sizes and boundaries of multiple segments duringmore »development.« less
  2. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data provides unprecedented information on cell fate decisions; however, the spatial arrangement of cells is often lost. Several recent computational methods have been developed to impute spatial information onto a scRNA-seq dataset through analyzing known spatial expression patterns of a small subset of genes known as a reference atlas. However, there is a lack of comprehensive analysis of the accuracy, precision, and robustness of the mappings, along with the generalizability of these methods, which are often designed for specific systems. We present a system-adaptive deep learning-based method (DEEPsc) to impute spatial information onto a scRNA-seq dataset from a given spatial reference atlas. By introducing a comprehensive set of metrics that evaluate the spatial mapping methods, we compare DEEPsc with four existing methods on four biological systems. We find that while DEEPsc has comparable accuracy to other methods, an improved balance between precision and robustness is achieved. DEEPsc provides a data-adaptive tool to connect scRNA-seq datasets and spatial imaging datasets to analyze cell fate decisions. Our implementation with a uniform API can serve as a portal with access to all the methods investigated in this work for spatial exploration of cell fate decisions in scRNA-seq data. Allmore »methods evaluated in this work are implemented as an open-source software with a uniform interface.« less