Journal article Open Access

Integrated single-cell transcriptomic and epigenetic study of cell-state transition and lineage commitment in embryonic mouse cerebellum

Khouri-Farah, Nagham; Guo, Qiuxia; Morgan, Kerry; Shin, Jihye; Li, James

Recent studies using single-cell RNA-seq have revealed cellular heterogeneity in the developing mammalian cerebellum, yet the regulatory logic underlying this cellular diversity remains to be elucidated. Using integrated single-cell RNA and ATAC analyses, we resolved developmental trajectories of cerebellar progenitors and identified putative trans- and cis-elements that control cell state transition. We reverse-engineered gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of each cerebellar cell type. Through in silico simulations and in vivo experiments, we validated the efficacy of GRN analyses and uncovered the molecular control of a newly identified stem zone, the posterior transitory zone (PTZ), which contains multipotent progenitors for granule neurons, Bergmann glia, and choroid plexus epithelium. Importantly, we showed that perturbing cell fate specification of PTZ progenitors causes posterior cerebellar vermis hypoplasia, the most common cerebellar birth defect in humans. Our study provides a foundation for comprehensive studies of developmental programs of the mammalian cerebellum

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