Single-Cell RNA Sequencing to Disentangle the Blood System

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2021 Mar;41(3):1012-1018. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.120.314654. Epub 2021 Jan 14.


The blood system is often represented as a tree-like structure with stem cells that give rise to mature blood cell types through a series of demarcated steps. Although this representation has served as a model of hierarchical tissue organization for decades, single-cell technologies are shedding new light on the abundance of cell type intermediates and the molecular mechanisms that ensure balanced replenishment of differentiated cells. In this Brief Review, we exemplify new insights into blood cell differentiation generated by single-cell RNA sequencing, summarize considerations for the application of this technology, and highlight innovations that are leading the way to understand hematopoiesis at the resolution of single cells. Graphic Abstract: A graphic abstract is available for this article.

Keywords: blood cells; computational biology; hematopoiesis; stem cells; technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Computational Biology / trends
  • Hematopoiesis / genetics*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • RNA-Seq / methods*
  • RNA-Seq / statistics & numerical data
  • RNA-Seq / trends
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Single-Cell Analysis / trends