Space: the final frontier - achieving single-cell, spatially resolved transcriptomics in plants

Emerg Top Life Sci. 2021 May 21;5(2):179-188. doi: 10.1042/ETLS20200274.

Abstract

Single-cell RNA-seq is a tool that generates a high resolution of transcriptional data that can be used to understand regulatory networks in biological systems. In plants, several methods have been established for transcriptional analysis in tissue sections, cell types, and/or single cells. These methods typically require cell sorting, transgenic plants, protoplasting, or other damaging or laborious processes. Additionally, the majority of these technologies lose most or all spatial resolution during implementation. Those that offer a high spatial resolution for RNA lack breadth in the number of transcripts characterized. Here, we briefly review the evolution of spatial transcriptomics methods and we highlight recent advances and current challenges in sequencing, imaging, and computational aspects toward achieving 3D spatial transcriptomics of plant tissues with a resolution approaching single cells. We also provide a perspective on the potential opportunities to advance this novel methodology in plants.

Keywords: RNA; gene expression; spatial transcriptomics; transcriptomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis*
  • Transcriptome* / genetics