Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Single-cell genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of primary and metastatic colorectal cancer tumors. Genome medicine Wang, R., Li, J., Zhou, X., Mao, Y., Wang, W., Gao, S., Wang, W., Gao, Y., Chen, K., Yu, S., Wu, X., Wen, L., Ge, H., Fu, W., Tang, F. 2022; 14 (1): 93


    Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks as the second-leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide with metastases being the main cause of cancer-related death. Here, we investigated the genomic and transcriptomic alterations in matching adjacent normal tissues, primary tumors, and metastatic tumors of CRC patients.We performed whole genome sequencing (WGS), multi-region whole exome sequencing (WES), simultaneous single-cell RNA-Seq, and single-cell targeted cDNA Sanger sequencing on matching adjacent normal tissues, primary tumors, and metastatic tumors from 12 metastatic colorectal cancer patients (n=84 for genomes, n=81 for exomes, n=9120 for single cells). Patient-derived tumor organoids were used to estimate the anti-tumor effects of a PPAR inhibitor, and self-renewal and differentiation ability of stem cell-like tumor cells.We found that the PPAR signaling pathway was prevalently and aberrantly activated in CRC tumors. Blocking of PPAR pathway both suppressed the growth and promoted the apoptosis of CRC organoids in vitro, indicating that aberrant activation of the PPAR signaling pathway plays a critical role in CRC tumorigenesis. Using matched samples from the same patient, distinct origins of the metastasized tumors between lymph node and liver were revealed, which was further verified by both copy number variation and mitochondrial mutation profiles at single-cell resolution. By combining single-cell RNA-Seq and single-cell point mutation identification by targeted cDNA Sanger sequencing, we revealed important phenotypic differences between cancer cells with and without critical point mutations (KRAS and TP53) in the same patient in vivo at single-cell resolution.Our data provides deep insights into how driver mutations interfere with the transcriptomic state of cancer cells in vivo at a single-cell resolution. Our findings offer novel knowledge on metastatic mechanisms as well as potential markers and therapeutic targets for CRC diagnosis and therapy. The high-precision single-cell RNA-seq dataset of matched adjacent normal tissues, primary tumors, and metastases from CRCs may serve as a rich resource for further studies.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13073-022-01093-z

    View details for PubMedID 35974387

  • Molecular profiling of human non-small cell lung cancer by single-cell RNA-seq. Genome medicine Li, Q., Wang, R., Yang, Z., Li, W., Yang, J., Wang, Z., Bai, H., Cui, Y., Tian, Y., Wu, Z., Guo, Y., Xu, J., Wen, L., He, J., Tang, F., Wang, J. 2022; 14 (1): 87


    Lung cancer, one of the most common malignant tumors, exhibits high inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity which contributes significantly to treatment resistance and failure. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) has been widely used to dissect the cellular composition and characterize the molecular properties of cancer cells and their tumor microenvironment in lung cancer. However, the transcriptomic heterogeneity among various cancer cells in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) warrants further illustration.To comprehensively analyze the molecular heterogeneity of NSCLC, we performed high-precision single-cell RNA-seq analyses on 7364 individual cells from tumor tissues and matched normal tissues from 19 primary lung cancer patients and 1 pulmonary chondroid hamartoma patient.In 6 of 16 patients sequenced, we identified a significant proportion of cancer cells simultaneously expressing classical marker genes for two or even three histologic subtypes of NSCLC-adenocarcinoma (ADC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and neuroendocrine tumor (NET) in the same individual cell, which we defined as mixed-lineage tumor cells; this was verified by both co-immunostaining and RNA in situ hybridization. These data suggest that mixed-lineage tumor cells are highly plastic with mixed features of different types of NSCLC. Both copy number variation (CNV) patterns and mitochondrial mutations clearly showed that the mixed-lineage and single-lineage tumor cells from the same patient had common tumor ancestors rather than different origins. Moreover, we revealed that patients with high mixed-lineage features of different cancer subtypes had worse survival than patients with low mixed-lineage features, indicating that mixed-lineage tumor features were associated with poorer prognosis. In addition, gene signatures specific to mixed-lineage tumor cells were identified, including AKR1B1. Gene knockdown and small molecule inhibition of AKR1B1 can significantly decrease cell proliferation and promote cell apoptosis, suggesting that AKR1B1 plays an important role in tumorigenesis and can serve as a candidate target for tumor therapy of NSCLC patients with mixed-lineage tumor features.In summary, our work provides novel insights into the tumor heterogeneity of NSCLC in terms of the identification of prevalent mixed-lineage subpopulations of cancer cells with combined signatures of SCC, ADC, and NET and offers clues for potential treatment strategies in these patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13073-022-01089-9

    View details for PubMedID 35962452

  • Dissecting human gonadal cell lineage specification and sex determination using a single-cell RNA-seq approach. Genomics, proteomics & bioinformatics Wang, R., Liu, X., Li, L., Yang, M., Yong, J., Zhai, F., Wen, L., Yan, L., Qiao, J., Tang, F. 2022


    Gonadal somatic cells are the main players in gonad development and are important for sex determination and germ cell development. Here, using a time-series single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) strategy, we analyzed fetal germ cells (FGCs) and gonadal somatic cells in human embryos and fetuses. Clustering analysis of testes and ovaries revealed several novel cell subsets, including POU5F1+SPARC+ FGCs and KRT19+ somatic cells. Furthermore, our data indicated that the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway plays cell type-specific and developmental stage-specific roles in testis development and promotes the gonocyte-to-spermatogonium transition (GST) in late testicular mitotic arrest FGCs. Intriguingly, testosterone synthesis function transitioned from fetal Sertoli cells to adult Leydig cells in a stepwise manner. In our study, potential interactions between gonadal somatic cells were systematically explored and we identified cell type-specific developmental defects in both FGCs and gonadal somatic cells in a Turner syndrome embryo (45, XO). Our work provides a blueprint of the complex yet highly ordered development of and interactions among human FGCs and gonadal somatic cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.gpb.2022.04.002

    View details for PubMedID 35513251

  • Systematic evaluation of colorectal cancer organoid system by single-cell RNA-Seq analysis. Genome biology Wang, R., Mao, Y., Wang, W., Zhou, X., Wang, W., Gao, S., Li, J., Wen, L., Fu, W., Tang, F. 2022; 23 (1): 106


    Patient-derived organoid culture is a powerful system for studying the molecular mechanisms of cancers, especially colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. There are two main types of 3D culture methods for colonic cells, but the similarities and differences between gene expression patterns in different culture media remain largely unexplored.Here, we establish patient-derived organoids from colorectal cancer patients and perform single-cell RNA-Seq for pairwise samples from seven patients for both organoids and their corresponding tumor and normal tissues in vivo. We find that organoids derived from tumor tissues faithfully recapitulate the main gene expression signatures of cancer cells in vivo. On the other hand, organoids derived from normal tissues exhibited some tumor-like features at the whole transcriptome level but retained normal genomic features, such as CNVs, point mutations, and normal global DNA methylation levels, for both cultural media. More importantly, we show that conditioned medium outperforms chemical-defined medium in long-term culture of tumor epithelial cells. Finally, we mutually exchange the culture medium for the organoids and find that after interchanging the medium, the organoid cells basically maintain the transcriptome characteristics of the original medium.Our work gives a thorough evaluation of both the cultural conditions and the biological features of organoids of CRC patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13059-022-02673-3

    View details for PubMedID 35484598

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9047329

  • Genomic and transcriptomic profiling of carcinogenesis in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis GUT Li, J., Wang, R., Zhou, X., Wang, W., Gao, S., Mao, Y., Wu, X., Guo, L., Liu, H., Wen, L., Fu, W., Tang, F. 2020; 69 (7): 1283-+


    Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is characterised by the development of hundreds to thousands of adenomas at different evolutionary stages in the colon and rectum that will inevitably progress to adenocarcinomas if left untreated. Here, we investigated the genetic alterations and transcriptomic transitions from precancerous adenoma to carcinoma.Whole-exome sequencing, whole-genome sequencing and single-cell RNA sequencing were performed on matched adjacent normal tissues, multiregionally sampled adenomas at different stages and carcinomas from six patients with FAP and one patient with MUTYH-associated polyposis (n=56 exomes, n=56 genomes and n=8,757 single cells). Genomic alterations (including copy number alterations and somatic mutations), clonal architectures and transcriptome dynamics during adenocarcinoma carcinogenesis were comprehensively investigated.Genomic evolutionary analysis showed that adjacent lesions from the same patient with FAP can originate from the same cancer-primed cell. In addition, the tricarboxylic acid cycle pathway was strongly repressed in adenomas and was then slightly alleviated in carcinomas. Cells from the 'normal' colon epithelium of patients with FAP already showed metabolic reprogramming compared with cells from the normal colon epithelium of patients with sporadic colorectal cancer.The process described in the previously reported field cancerisation model also occurs in patients with FAP and can contribute to the formation of adjacent lesions in patients with FAP. Reprogramming of carbohydrate metabolism has already occurred at the precancerous adenoma stage. Our study provides an accurate picture of the genomic and transcriptomic landscapes during the initiation and progression of carcinogenesis, especially during the transition from adenoma to carcinoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-319438

    View details for Web of Science ID 000569655200018

    View details for PubMedID 31744909

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7306982

  • Reconstituting the transcriptome and DNA methylome landscapes of human implantation NATURE Zhou, F., Wang, R., Yuan, P., Ren, Y., Mao, Y., Li, R., Lian, Y., Li, J., Wen, L., Yan, L., Qiao, J., Tang, F. 2019; 572 (7771): 660-+


    Implantation is a milestone event during mammalian embryogenesis. Implantation failure is a considerable cause of early pregnancy loss in humans1. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining human embryos early after implantation in vivo, it remains unclear how the gene regulatory network and epigenetic mechanisms control the implantation process. Here, by combining an in vitro culture system for the development human embryos after implantation and single-cell multi-omics sequencing technologies, more than 8,000 individual cells from 65 human peri-implantation embryos were systematically analysed. Unsupervised dimensionality reduction and clustering algorithms of the transcriptome data show stepwise implantation routes for the epiblast, primitive endoderm and trophectoderm lineages, suggesting robust preparation for the proper establishment of a mother-to-offspring connection during implantation. Female embryos showed initiation of random X chromosome inactivation based on analysis of parental allele-specific expression of X-chromosome-linked genes during implantation. Notably, using single-cell triple omics sequencing analysis, the re-methylation of the genome in cells from the primitive endoderm lineage was shown to be much slower than in cells of both epiblast and trophectoderm lineages during the implantation process, which indicates that there are distinct re-establishment features in the DNA methylome of the epiblast and primitive endoderm-even though both lineages are derived from the inner cell mass. Collectively, our work provides insights into the complex molecular mechanisms that regulate the implantation of human embryos, and helps to advance future efforts to understanding early embryonic development and reproductive medicine.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1500-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000483405500055

    View details for PubMedID 31435013

  • Single-cell RNA-seq reveals the diversity of trophoblast subtypes and patterns of differentiation in the human placenta CELL RESEARCH Liu, Y., Fan, X., Wang, R., Lu, X., Dang, Y., Wang, H., Lin, H., Zhu, C., Ge, H., Cross, J. C., Wang, H. 2018; 28 (8): 819-832


    The placenta is crucial for a successful pregnancy and the health of both the fetus and the pregnant woman. However, how the human trophoblast lineage is regulated, including the categorization of the placental cell subtypes is poorly understood. Here we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) on sorted placental cells from first- and second-trimester human placentas. New subtypes of cells of the known cytotrophoblast cells (CTBs), extravillous trophoblast cells (EVTs), Hofbauer cells, and mesenchymal stromal cells were identified and cell-type-specific gene signatures were defined. Functionally, this study revealed many previously unknown functions of the human placenta. Notably, 102 polypeptide hormone genes were found to be expressed by various subtypes of placental cells, which suggests a complex and significant role of these hormones in regulating fetal growth and adaptations of maternal physiology to pregnancy. These results document human placental trophoblast differentiation at single-cell resolution and thus advance our understanding of human placentation during the early stage of pregnancy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41422-018-0066-y

    View details for Web of Science ID 000441069300005

    View details for PubMedID 30042384

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6082907

  • Tracing the temporal-spatial transcriptome landscapes of the human fetal digestive tract using single-cell RNA-sequencing NATURE CELL BIOLOGY Gao, S., Yan, L., Wang, R., Li, J., Yong, J., Zhou, X., Wei, Y., Wu, X., Wang, X., Fan, X., Yan, J., Zhi, X., Gao, Y., Guo, H., Jin, X., Wang, W., Mao, Y., Wang, F., Wen, L., Fu, W., Ge, H., Qiao, J., Tang, F. 2018; 20 (6): 721-734


    The development of the digestive tract is critical for proper food digestion and nutrient absorption. Here, we analyse the main organs of the digestive tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine, from human embryos between 6 and 25 weeks of gestation as well as the large intestine from adults using single-cell RNA-seq analyses. In total, 5,227 individual cells are analysed and 40 cell types clearly identified. Their crucial biological features, including developmental processes, signalling pathways, cell cycle, nutrient digestion and absorption metabolism, and transcription factor networks, are systematically revealed. Moreover, the differentiation and maturation processes of the large intestine are thoroughly investigated by comparing the corresponding transcriptome profiles between embryonic and adult stages. Our work offers a rich resource for investigating the gene regulation networks of the human fetal digestive tract and adult large intestine at single-cell resolution.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41556-018-0105-4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000433237300013

    View details for PubMedID 29802404