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Science. 2019 Sep 5. pii: eaax1971. doi: 10.1126/science.aax1971. [Epub ahead of print]

A lineage-resolved molecular atlas of C. elegans embryogenesis at single-cell resolution.

Author information

1
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
2
Genomics and Computational Biology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
3
Department of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
4
Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
5
Division of Oncology and Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
6
Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
7
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
8
Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. junhyong@sas.upenn.edu watersto@uw.edu jmurr@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.
9
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. junhyong@sas.upenn.edu watersto@uw.edu jmurr@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.
10
Department of Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. junhyong@sas.upenn.edu watersto@uw.edu jmurr@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Abstract

Caenorhabditis elegans is an animal with few cells, but a striking diversity of cell types. Here, we characterize the molecular basis for their specification by profiling the transcriptomes of 86,024 single embryonic cells. We identify 502 terminal and pre-terminal cell types, mapping most single-cell transcriptomes to their exact position in C. elegans' invariant lineage. Using these annotations, we find that: 1) the correlation between a cell's lineage and its transcriptome increases from mid to late gastrulation, then falls dramatically as cells in the nervous system and pharynx adopt their terminal fates; 2) multilineage priming contributes to the differentiation of sister cells at dozens of lineage branches; and 3) most distinct lineages that produce the same anatomical cell type converge to a homogenous transcriptomic state.

PMID:
31488706
DOI:
10.1126/science.aax1971

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