A fast and efficient count-based matrix factorization method for detecting cell types from single-cell RNAseq data

BMC Syst Biol. 2019 Apr 5;13(Suppl 2):28. doi: 10.1186/s12918-019-0699-6.


Background: Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) data always involves various unwanted variables, which would be able to mask the true signal to identify cell-types. More efficient way of dealing with this issue is to extract low dimension information from high dimensional gene expression data to represent cell-type structure. In the past two years, several powerful matrix factorization tools were developed for scRNAseq data, such as NMF, ZIFA, pCMF and ZINB-WaVE. But the existing approaches either are unable to directly model the raw count of scRNAseq data or are really time-consuming when handling a large number of cells (e.g. n>500).

Results: In this paper, we developed a fast and efficient count-based matrix factorization method (single-cell negative binomial matrix factorization, scNBMF) based on the TensorFlow framework to infer the low dimensional structure of cell types. To make our method scalable, we conducted a series of experiments on three public scRNAseq data sets, brain, embryonic stem, and pancreatic islet. The experimental results show that scNBMF is more powerful to detect cell types and 10 - 100 folds faster than the scRNAseq bespoke tools.

Conclusions: In this paper, we proposed a fast and efficient count-based matrix factorization method, scNBMF, which is more powerful for detecting cell type purposes. A series of experiments were performed on three public scRNAseq data sets. The results show that scNBMF is a more powerful tool in large-scale scRNAseq data analysis. scNBMF was implemented in R and Python, and the source code are freely available at https://github.com/sqsun .

Keywords: Deep learning; Matrix factorization; Read count; Single-cell RNA sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Time Factors