Characterisation of CD4+ T-cell subtypes using single cell RNA sequencing and the impact of cell number and sequencing depth

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CD4+ T-cells represent a heterogeneous collection of specialised sub-types and are a key cell type in the pathogenesis of many diseases due to their role in the adaptive immune system. By investigating CD4+ T-cells at the single cell level, using RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), there is the potential to identify specific cell states driving disease or treatment response. However, the impact of sequencing depth and cell numbers, two important factors in scRNA-seq, has not been determined for a complex cell population such as CD4+ T-cells. We therefore generated a high depth, high cell number dataset to determine the effect of reduced sequencing depth and cell number on the ability to accurately identify CD4+ T-cell subtypes. Furthermore, we investigated T-cell signatures under resting and stimulated conditions to assess cluster specific effects of stimulation. We found that firstly, cell number has a much more profound effect than sequencing depth on the ability to classify cells; secondly, this effect is greater when cells are unstimulated and finally, resting and stimulated samples can be combined to leverage additional power whilst still allowing differences between samples to be observed. While based on one individual, these results could inform future scRNA-seq studies to ensure the most efficient experimental design.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number19825
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020

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