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Single cell gene expression analysis identifies chronic alcoholmediated shift in hepatocyte molecular states after partial hepatectomy

Sirisha Achanta, Aalap Verma, Ankita Srivastava, Harshavardhan Nilakantan, Jan B Hoek, Rajanikanth Vadigepalli
Gene Expression 2018 September 6
The analysis of molecular states of individual cells, as defined by their mRNA expression profiles and protein composition, has gained widespread interest in studying biological phenomena ranging from embryonic development to homeostatic tissue function and genesis and evolution of cancers. Although the molecular content of individual cells in a tissue can vary widely, their molecular states tend to be constrained within a transcriptional landscape partly described by the canonical archetypes of a population of cells. In this study we sought to characterize the effects of an acute (partial hepatectomy) and chronic (alcohol consumption) perturbation on the molecular states of individual hepatocytes during the onset and progression of liver regeneration. We analyzed the expression of 84 genes across 233 individual hepatocytes acquired using laser capture microdissection. Analysis of this single cell data revealed that hepatocyte molecular states can be considered as distributed across a set of four states irrespective of perturbation, with the proportions of hepatocytes in these states being dependent on the perturbation. In addition to the quiescent, primed, and replicating hepatocytes, we identified a fourth molecular state lying between the primed and replicating subpopulations. Comparison of the proportions of hepatocytes from each experimental condition in these four molecular states suggested that, in addition to aberrant priming, a slower transition from primed to replication state could contribute towards ethanol-mediated suppression of liver regenerative response to partial hepatectomy.


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