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Multicellularity In The Cardiovascular System

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Front. Cardiovasc. Med. | doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00167

Single Cell Gene Expression To Understand The Dynamic Architecture Of The Heart

 Andrea Massaia1,  Patricia Chaves1,  Sara Samari1, Ricardo J. Miragaia2,  Kerstin Meyer2, Sarah A. Teichmann2 and  Michela Noseda1*
  • 1British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence and British Heart Foundation Centre for Regenerative Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 2Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WT), United Kingdom

The recent development of single cell gene expression technologies, and especially single cell transcriptomics, have revolutionized the way biologists and clinicians investigate organs and organisms, allowing an unprecedented level of resolution to the description of cell demographics in both healthy and diseased states. Single cell transcriptomics provide information on prevalence, heterogeneity and gene co-expression at the individual cell level. Remarkably, this enables a cell-centric outlook to define intracellular gene regulatory networks and to bridge towards the definition of intercellular pathways otherwise masked in bulk analysis.
The technologies have developed at a fast pace producing a multitude of different approaches, with several alternatives to choose from at any step, including single cell isolation and capturing, lysis, RNA reverse transcription and cDNA amplification, library preparation, sequencing and computational analyses.
Here, we provide guidelines for the experimental design of single cell RNA sequencing experiments, exploring the current options for the crucial steps. Furthermore, we provide a complete overview of the typical data analysis workflow, from handling the raw sequencing data to making biological inferences. Significantly, advancements in single cell transcriptomics have already contributed to outstanding exploratory and functional studies of cardiac development and disease models, as summarized in this review. In conclusion, we discuss achievable outcomes of single cell transcriptomics’ applications in addressing unanswered questions and influencing future cardiac clinical applications.

Keywords: Heart, Gene Expression, single cell, Transcriptomics, qRT- PCR, RNA-Seq, Cellular landscape

Received: 04 Sep 2018; Accepted: 29 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Gabor Foldes, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Elisa Avolio, Bristol Medical School, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Dan Skelly, Jackson Laboratory, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Massaia, Chaves, Samari, Miragaia, Meyer, Teichmann and Noseda. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michela Noseda, Imperial College London, British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence and British Heart Foundation Centre for Regenerative Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom, m.noseda@imperial.ac.uk