Spinal cord

The human spinal cord contains diverse cell types, governed by a series of spatiotemporal events for tissue assembly and functions. However, the spatiotemporal regulation of cell fate specification in the human developing spinal cord remains largely unknown. Single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics techniques have advanced the understanding of human organ development considerably. By performing integrated analysis of single-cell and spatial multi-omics methods, we created a comprehensive developmental cell atlas of the first trimester human spinal cord. Our data revealed that the cell fate commitment of neural progenitor cells and their spatial positioning are spatiotemporally regulated by specific gene sets. Beyond this resource, we unexpectedly discovered unique events in human spinal cord development compared to rodents, including earlier quiescence of active neural stem cells, different regulation of stem cell differentiation, and distinct spatiotemporal genetic regulations of cell fate choices. In addition, using our atlas we identified specific gene expression in cancer stem cells in ependymomas. Thus, we demonstrate spatiotemporal genetic regulation of human spinal cord development as well as its potential to understand novel disease mechanisms and to inspire new therapies.

[1] Decoding spatiotemporal gene expression of the developing human spinal cord and implications for ependymoma origin. Xiaofei Li, Zaneta Andrusivova, Paulo Czarnewski, Christoffer Mattsson Langseth, Alma Andersson, Yang Liu, Daniel Gyllborg, Emelie Braun, Ludvig Larsson, Lijuan Hu, Zhanna Alekseenko, Hower Lee, Christophe Avenel, Helena Kopp Kallner, Elisabet Åkesson, Igor Adameyko, Mats Nilsson, Sten Linnarsson, Joakim Lundeberg, Erik Sundström. Nature Neuroscience 2022.01.11.475631; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.11.475631