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Single-cell epigenomics maps the continuous regulatory landscape of human hematopoietic differentiation

By Jason D. Buenrostro, M. Ryan Corces, Beijing Wu, Alicia N. Schep, Caleb A. Lareau, Ravindra Majeti, Howard Y. Chang, William J. Greenleaf

Posted 21 Feb 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/109843

Normal human hematopoiesis involves cellular differentiation of multipotent cells into progressively more lineage-restricted states. While epigenomic landscapes of this process have been explored in immunophenotypically-defined populations, the single-cell regulatory variation that defines hematopoietic differentiation has been hidden by ensemble averaging. We generated single-cell chromatin accessibility landscapes across 8 populations of immunophenotypically-defined human hematopoietic cell types. Using bulk chromatin accessibility profiles to scaffold our single-cell data analysis, we constructed an epigenomic landscape of human hematopoiesis and characterized epigenomic heterogeneity within phenotypically sorted populations to find epigenomic lineage-bias toward different developmental branches in multipotent stem cell states. We identify and isolate sub-populations within classically-defined granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMPs) and use ATAC-seq and RNA-seq to confirm that GMPs are epigenomically and transcriptomically heterogeneous. Furthermore, we identified transcription factors and cis-regulatory elements linked to changes in chromatin accessibility within cellular populations and across a continuous myeloid developmental trajectory, and observe relatively simple TF motif dynamics give rise to a broad diversity of accessibility dynamics at cis-regulatory elements. Overall, this work provides a template for exploration of complex regulatory dynamics in primary human tissues at the ultimate level of granular specificity - the single cell.

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