New computational strategy maps single-cell spatial patterning in complex tissue

For cells, location is key to their fate and behavior, but studying expression patterns across complex tissues is difficult. A team led by Broad visiting scientist Rahul Satija (of Broad core member Aviv Regev's lab) and Jeff Farrell (a postdoc in associate member Alex Schier's lab) recently reported on Seurat, their new computational strategy to map single cells by integrating single-cell RNA-seq data with RNA patterns from tissues. Their team used the tool, named after the 19th century pointillist painter, to generate a transcriptome-wide map of spatial patterning in zebrafish embryos, demonstrating Seurat's utility for mapping cells within complex patterned tissues. Their paper appears online in Nature Biotechnology.