Cell-Type Specificity of Genomic Imprinting in Cerebral Cortex

Neuron. 2020 Sep 23;107(6):1160-1179.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.06.031. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


In mammalian genomes, a subset of genes is regulated by genomic imprinting, resulting in silencing of one parental allele. Imprinting is essential for cerebral cortex development, but prevalence and functional impact in individual cells is unclear. Here, we determined allelic expression in cortical cell types and established a quantitative platform to interrogate imprinting in single cells. We created cells with uniparental chromosome disomy (UPD) containing two copies of either the maternal or the paternal chromosome; hence, imprinted genes will be 2-fold overexpressed or not expressed. By genetic labeling of UPD, we determined cellular phenotypes and transcriptional responses to deregulated imprinted gene expression at unprecedented single-cell resolution. We discovered an unexpected degree of cell-type specificity and a novel function of imprinting in the regulation of cortical astrocyte survival. More generally, our results suggest functional relevance of imprinted gene expression in glial astrocyte lineage and thus for generating cortical cell-type diversity.

Keywords: apoptosis; astrocyte; cell type diversity; cerebral cortex; epigenetics; genetic mosaic; genomic imprinting; mosaic analysis with double markers; scRNA-seq; uniparental chromosome disomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / classification
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA-Seq
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcriptome*
  • Uniparental Disomy*