Single-Cell Transcriptomic and Epigenetic Analyses of Mouse Mammary Development Starting with the Embryo

Methods Mol Biol. 2022:2471:49-82. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2193-6_3.


Cancers are caricatures of normal development. Yet, for most organs we are only beginning to learn about the molecular events underlying the embryonic antecedents of organogenesis and when differentiation into the cell types found in the adult actually begins. Here, we will focus on the powerful single-cell RNA sequencing and Assay for Transposase Accessible DNA by DNA sequencing (ATAC-seq) that we and others have been using to decipher the key regulators and signal transduction pathways involved in normal mammary development. We will first describe the techniques we use to identify, dissect, and isolate embryonic mammary rudiments and their constituent cells. We then describe the methods we have employed to perform single-cell RNA-seq and single-nucleus ATAC-seq using the small number of cells obtainable from mouse embryos. Finally, we will discuss the bioinformatic techniques we have used to interpret the vast amount of data obtained with these methods.

Keywords: Bioinformatic analysis; Fetal mammary gland; Integrated analysis; Mammary rudiments; Single-cell RNA-seq; Single-nucleus ATAC-seq.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing
  • Chromatin*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Mice
  • Organogenesis
  • Transcriptome*


  • Chromatin