CRISPR Activation Screens Systematically Identify Factors that Drive Neuronal Fate and Reprogramming.
Cell stem cell
Comprehensive identification of factors that can specify neuronal fate could provide valuable insights into lineage specification and reprogramming, but systematic interrogation of transcription factors, and their interactions with each other, has proven technically challenging. We developed a CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) approach to systematically identify regulators of neuronal-fate specification. We activated expression of all endogenous transcription factors and other regulators via a pooled CRISPRa screen in embryonic stem cells, revealing genes including epigenetic regulators such as Ezh2 that can induce neuronal fate. Systematic CRISPR-based activation of factor pairs allowed us to generate a genetic interaction map for neuronal differentiation, with confirmation of top individual and combinatorial hits as bona fide inducers of neuronal fate. Several factor pairs could directly reprogram fibroblasts into neurons, which shared similar transcriptional programs with endogenous neurons. This study provides an unbiased discovery approach for systematic identification of genes that drive cell-fate acquisition.
View details for PubMedID 30318302
Deep Profiling of Mouse Splenic Architecture with CODEX Multiplexed Imaging.
A highly multiplexed cytometric imaging approach, termed co-detection by indexing (CODEX), is used here to create multiplexed datasets of normal and lupus (MRL/lpr) murine spleens. CODEX iteratively visualizes antibody binding events using DNA barcodes, fluorescent dNTP analogs, and an in situ polymerization-based indexing procedure. An algorithmic pipeline for single-cell antigen quantification in tightly packed tissues was developed and used to overlay well-known morphological features with de novo characterization of lymphoid tissue architecture at a single-cell and cellular neighborhood levels. We observed an unexpected, profound impact of the cellular neighborhood on the expression of protein receptors on immune cells. By comparing normal murine spleen to spleens from animals with systemicautoimmune disease (MRL/lpr), extensive and previously uncharacterized splenic cell-interaction dynamics in the healthy versus diseased state was observed. The fidelity of multiplexed spatial cytometry demonstrated here allows for quantitative systemic characterization of tissue architecture in normal and clinically aberrant samples.
View details for PubMedID 30078711