Diversification of reprogramming trajectories revealed by parallel single-cell transcriptome and chromatin accessibility sequencing

Sci Adv. 2020 Sep 11;6(37):eaba1190. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba1190. Print 2020 Sep.


Cellular reprogramming suffers from low efficiency especially for the human cells. To deconstruct the heterogeneity and unravel the mechanisms for successful reprogramming, we adopted single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) and single-cell assay for transposase-accessible chromatin (scATAC-Seq) to profile reprogramming cells across various time points. Our analysis revealed that reprogramming cells proceed in an asynchronous trajectory and diversify into heterogeneous subpopulations. We identified fluorescent probes and surface markers to enrich for the early reprogrammed human cells. Furthermore, combinatory usage of the surface markers enabled the fine segregation of the early-intermediate cells with diverse reprogramming propensities. scATAC-Seq analysis further uncovered the genomic partitions and transcription factors responsible for the regulatory phasing of reprogramming process. Binary choice between a FOSL1 and a TEAD4-centric regulatory network determines the outcome of a successful reprogramming. Together, our study illuminates the multitude of diverse routes transversed by individual reprogramming cells and presents an integrative roadmap for identifying the mechanistic part list of the reprogramming machinery.