Integrating single-cell and spatial transcriptomics to elucidate intercellular tissue dynamics

Nat Rev Genet. 2021 Jun 18. doi: 10.1038/s41576-021-00370-8. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) identifies cell subpopulations within tissue but does not capture their spatial distribution nor reveal local networks of intercellular communication acting in situ. A suite of recently developed techniques that localize RNA within tissue, including multiplexed in situ hybridization and in situ sequencing (here defined as high-plex RNA imaging) and spatial barcoding, can help address this issue. However, no method currently provides as complete a scope of the transcriptome as does scRNA-seq, underscoring the need for approaches to integrate single-cell and spatial data. Here, we review efforts to integrate scRNA-seq with spatial transcriptomics, including emerging integrative computational methods, and propose ways to effectively combine current methodologies.

Publication types

  • Review