In the June 24 Science online, researchers from the the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, and University of California, San Diego, present a detailed single cell transcriptional analysis of over three thousand cells from six regions of the human brain, exposing remarkable neuronal diversity and genetic heterogeneity. This tour de force experiment was achieved through single-nucleus RNA sequencing (SNS) of neurons from the postmortem brain of a healthy adult, which enabled targeted selection of cells from regions with distinct anatomical and physiological properties. The gene expression profiles distinguished excitatory and inhibitory neurons, and revealed diversity between different cortical regions and layers, as well as within them. The postmortem SNS approach can now be applied to examine additional brain regions, and to characterize changes that occur in neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and FTD.
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Lake BB, Ai R, Kaeser GE, Salathia NS, Yung YC, Liu R, Wildberg A, Gao D, Fung HL, Chen S, Vijayaraghavan R, Wong J, Chen A, Sheng X, Kaper F, Shen R, Ronaghi M, Fan JB, Wang W, Chun J, Zhang K. Neuronal subtypes and diversity revealed by single-nucleus RNA sequencing of the human brain. Science. 2016 Jun 24;352(6293):1586-90.[Pubmed]