Understanding the complexity of retina and pluripotent stem cell derived retinal organoids with single cell RNA sequencing: current progress, remaining challenges and future prospective

Curr Eye Res. 2020 Mar;45(3):385-396. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2019.1697453.


Single-cell sequencing technologies have emerged as a revolutionary tool with transformative new methods to profile genetic, epigenetic, spatial, and lineage information in individual cells. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) allows researchers to collect large datasets detailing the transcriptomes of individual cells in space and time and is increasingly being applied to reveal cellular heterogeneity in retinal development, normal physiology, and disease, and provide new insights into cell-type specific markers and signaling pathways. In recent years, scRNA-Seq datasets have been generated from retinal tissue and pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal organoids. Their cross-comparison enables staging of retinal organoids, identification of specific cells in developing and adult human neural retina and provides deeper insights into cell-type sub-specification and geographical differences. In this article, we review the recent rapid progress in scRNA-Seq analyses of retina and retinal organoids, the questions that remain unanswered and the technical challenges that need to be overcome to achieve consistent results that reflect the complexity, functionality, and interactions of all retinal cell types.

Keywords: Single-cell RNA-Seq; pluripotent stem cells; retina; retinal organoids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't