Single-cell transcriptomics allows novel insights into aging and circadian processes

Brief Funct Genomics. 2020 Dec 4;19(5-6):343-349. doi: 10.1093/bfgp/elaa014.


Aging and circadian rhythms are two biological processes that affect an organism, although at different time scales. Nevertheless, due to the overlap of their actions, it was speculated that both interfere or interact with each other. However, to address this question, a much deeper insight into these processes is necessary, especially at the cellular level. New methods such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-Seq) have the potential to close this gap in our knowledge. In this review, we analyze applications of scRNA-Seq from the aging and circadian rhythm fields and highlight new findings emerging from the analysis of single cells, especially in humans or rodents. Furthermore, we judge the potential of scRNA-Seq to identify common traits of both processes. Overall, this method offers several advantages over more traditional methods analyzing gene expression and will become an important tool to unravel the link between these biological processes.

Keywords: hallmarks of aging; light resetting; melatonin; mutation rate; transcriptome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't