Highly sensitive single-cell chromatin accessibility assay and transcriptome coassay with METATAC

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Oct 4;119(40):e2206450119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2206450119. Epub 2022 Sep 26.


Recent advances in single-cell assay for transposase accessible chromatin using sequencing (scATAC-seq) and its coassays have transformed the field of single-cell epigenomics and transcriptomics. However, the low detection efficiency of current methods has limited our understanding of the true complexity of chromatin accessibility and its relationship with gene expression in single cells. Here, we report a high-sensitivity scATAC-seq method, termed multiplexed end-tagging amplification of transposase accessible chromatin (METATAC), which detects a large number of accessible sites per cell and is compatible with automation. Our high detectability and statistical framework allowed precise linking of enhancers to promoters without merging single cells. We systematically investigated allele-specific accessibility in the mouse cerebral cortex, revealing allele-specific accessibility of promotors of certain imprinted genes but biallelic accessibility of their enhancers. Finally, we combined METATAC with our high-sensitivity single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) method, multiple annealing and looping based amplification cycles for digital transcriptomics (MALBAC-DT), to develop a joint ATAC-RNA assay, termed METATAC and MALBAC-DT coassay by sequencing (M2C-seq). M2C-seq achieved significant improvements for both ATAC and RNA compared with previous methods, with consistent performance across cell lines and early mouse embryos.

Keywords: coaccessibility; imprinted gene; joint ATAC–RNA; scATAC-seq.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin* / genetics
  • Mice
  • RNA
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods
  • Transcriptome
  • Transposases* / genetics
  • Transposases* / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • RNA
  • Transposases