• Comparative cellular analysis of motor cortex in human, marmoset and mouse

      Bakken, Trygve E; Jorstad, Nikolas L; Hu, Qiwen; Lake, Blue B; Tian, Wei; Kalmbach, Brian E; Crow, Megan; Hodge, Rebecca D; Krienen, Fenna M; Sorensen, Staci A; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-10-06)
      The primary motor cortex (M1) is essential for voluntary fine-motor control and is functionally conserved across mammals1. Here, using high-throughput transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling of more than 450,000 single nuclei in humans, marmoset monkeys and mice, we demonstrate a broadly conserved cellular makeup of this region, with similarities that mirror evolutionary distance and are consistent between the transcriptome and epigenome. The core conserved molecular identities of neuronal and non-neuronal cell types allow us to generate a cross-species consensus classification of cell types, and to infer conserved properties of cell types across species. Despite the overall conservation, however, many species-dependent specializations are apparent, including differences in cell-type proportions, gene expression, DNA methylation and chromatin state. Few cell-type marker genes are conserved across species, revealing a short list of candidate genes and regulatory mechanisms that are responsible for conserved features of homologous cell types, such as the GABAergic chandelier cells. This consensus transcriptomic classification allows us to use patch-seq (a combination of whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, RNA sequencing and morphological characterization) to identify corticospinal Betz cells from layer 5 in non-human primates and humans, and to characterize their highly specialized physiology and anatomy. These findings highlight the robust molecular underpinnings of cell-type diversity in M1 across mammals, and point to the genes and regulatory pathways responsible for the functional identity of cell types and their species-specific adaptations.
    • A transcriptomic and epigenomic cell atlas of the mouse primary motor cortex

      Yao, Zizhen; Liu, Hanqing; Xie, Fangming; Fischer, Stephan; Adkins, Ricky S; Aldridge, Andrew I; Ament, Seth A; Bartlett, Anna; Behrens, M Margarita; Van den Berge, Koen; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-10-06)
      Single-cell transcriptomics can provide quantitative molecular signatures for large, unbiased samples of the diverse cell types in the brain1-3. With the proliferation of multi-omics datasets, a major challenge is to validate and integrate results into a biological understanding of cell-type organization. Here we generated transcriptomes and epigenomes from more than 500,000 individual cells in the mouse primary motor cortex, a structure that has an evolutionarily conserved role in locomotion. We developed computational and statistical methods to integrate multimodal data and quantitatively validate cell-type reproducibility. The resulting reference atlas-containing over 56 neuronal cell types that are highly replicable across analysis methods, sequencing technologies and modalities-is a comprehensive molecular and genomic account of the diverse neuronal and non-neuronal cell types in the mouse primary motor cortex. The atlas includes a population of excitatory neurons that resemble pyramidal cells in layer 4 in other cortical regions4. We further discovered thousands of concordant marker genes and gene regulatory elements for these cell types. Our results highlight the complex molecular regulation of cell types in the brain and will directly enable the design of reagents to target specific cell types in the mouse primary motor cortex for functional analysis.