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Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 17;9(1):2759. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05134-3.

Single cell transcriptome profiling of retinal ganglion cells identifies cellular subtypes.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT, 06030, USA.
2
The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, CT, 06032, USA.
3
Institute for Systems Genomics and Department of Genetics & Genome Sciences, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, 06032, USA.
4
Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT, 06030, USA. trakhtenberg@uchc.edu.

Abstract

Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) convey the major output of information collected from the eye to the brain. Thirty subtypes of RGCs have been identified to date. Here, we analyze 6225 RGCs (average of 5000 genes per cell) from right and left eyes by single-cell RNA-seq and classify them into 40 subtypes using clustering algorithms. We identify additional subtypes and markers, as well as transcription factors predicted to cooperate in specifying RGC subtypes. Zic1, a marker of the right eye-enriched subtype, is validated by immunostaining in situ. Runx1 and Fst, the markers of other subtypes, are validated in purified RGCs by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunostaining. We show the extent of gene expression variability needed for subtype segregation, and we show a hierarchy in diversification from a cell-type population to subtypes. Finally, we present a website for comparing the gene expression of RGC subtypes.

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