Three-dimensional genome structure plays a pivotal role in gene regulation and cellular function. Single-cell analysis of genome architecture has been achieved using imaging and chromatin conformation capture methods such as Hi-C. To study variation in chromosome structure between different cell types, computational approaches are needed that can utilize sparse and heterogeneous single-cell Hi-C data. However, few methods exist that are able to accurately and efficiently cluster such data into constituent cell types. Here, we describe scHiCluster, a single-cell clustering algorithm for Hi-C contact matrices that is based on imputations using linear convolution and random walk. Using both simulated and real single-cell Hi-C data as benchmarks, scHiCluster significantly improves clustering accuracy when applied to low coverage datasets compared with existing methods. After imputation by scHiCluster, topologically associating domain (TAD)-like structures (TLSs) can be identified within single cells, and their consensus boundaries were enriched at the TAD boundaries observed in bulk cell Hi-C samples. In summary, scHiCluster facilitates visualization and comparison of single-cell 3D genomes.
Keywords: 3D chromosome structure; Hi-C; random walk; single cell.
Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.