Single-cell genomics and regulatory networks for 388 human brains

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Mar 30:2024.03.18.585576. doi: 10.1101/2024.03.18.585576.


Single-cell genomics is a powerful tool for studying heterogeneous tissues such as the brain. Yet, little is understood about how genetic variants influence cell-level gene expression. Addressing this, we uniformly processed single-nuclei, multi-omics datasets into a resource comprising >2.8M nuclei from the prefrontal cortex across 388 individuals. For 28 cell types, we assessed population-level variation in expression and chromatin across gene families and drug targets. We identified >550K cell-type-specific regulatory elements and >1.4M single-cell expression-quantitative-trait loci, which we used to build cell-type regulatory and cell-to-cell communication networks. These networks manifest cellular changes in aging and neuropsychiatric disorders. We further constructed an integrative model accurately imputing single-cell expression and simulating perturbations; the model prioritized ~250 disease-risk genes and drug targets with associated cell types.

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