TransSynW: A single-cell RNA-sequencing based web application to guide cell conversion experiments.

February 01, 2021 By:
  • Ribeiro MM
  • Okawa S
  • Del Sol A.

Generation of desired cell types by cell conversion remains a challenge. In particular, derivation of novel cell subtypes identified by single-cell technologies will open up new strategies for cell therapies. The recent increase in the generation of single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) data and the concomitant increase in the interest expressed by researchers in generating a wide range of functional cells prompted us to develop a computational tool for tackling this challenge. Here we introduce a web application, TransSynW, which uses scRNA-seq data for predicting cell conversion transcription factors (TFs) for user-specified cell populations. TransSynW prioritizes pioneer factors among predicted conversion TFs to facilitate chromatin opening often required for cell conversion. In addition, it predicts marker genes for assessing the performance of cell conversion experiments. Furthermore, TransSynW does not require users' knowledge of computer programming and computational resources. We applied TransSynW to different levels of cell conversion specificity, which recapitulated known conversion TFs at each level. We foresee that TransSynW will be a valuable tool for guiding experimentalists to design novel protocols for cell conversion in stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

2021 Feb. Stem Cells Transl Med.10(2):230-238. Epub 2020 Oct 8.
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