Apr 24, 2020

Predicting cell fate commitment of embryonic differentiation by single-cell graph entropy

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J. ZhongRui Liu


Cell fate commitment occurs during early embryonic development, that is, the embryonic differentiation sometimes undergoes a critical phase transition or "tipping point" of cell fate commitment, at which there is a drastic or qualitative shift of the cell populations. In this study, we presented a novel computational approach, the single-cell graph entropy (SGE), to explore the gene-gene associations among cell populations based on single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data. Specifically, by transforming the sparse and fluctuating gene expression data to the stable local network entropy, the SGE score quantitatively characterizes the criticality of gene regulatory networks among cell populations, and thus can be employed to predict the tipping point of cell fate or lineage commitment at the single cell level. The proposed SGE method was applied to five scRNA-seq datasets. For all these datasets of embryonic differentiation, SGE effectively captures the signal of the impending cell fate transitions, which cannot be detected by gene expressions. Some "dark" genes that are non-differential but sensitive to SGE values were revealed. The successful identification of critical transition for all five datasets demonstrates the effecti...Continue Reading

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