Tissue repair responses in metazoans are highly coordinated by different cell types over space and time. However, comprehensive single-cell-based characterization covering this coordination is lacking. Here, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco captured transcriptional states of single cells over space and time during skin wound closure, revealing choreographed gene-expression profiles. The researchers identified shared space-time patterns of cellular and gene program enrichment, which they call multicellular “movements” spanning multiple cell types. They validated some of the discovered space-time movements using large-volume imaging of cleared wounds and demonstrated the value of this analysis to predict “sender” and “receiver” gene programs in macrophages and fibroblasts. Finally, they tested the hypothesis that tumors are like “wounds that never heal” and found conserved wound healing movements in mouse melanoma and colorectal tumor models, as well as human tumor samples, revealing fundamental multicellular units of tissue biology for integrative studies.
Space-time scRNA-seq of healing skin wounds
Hu KH, Kuhn NF, Courau T, Tsui J, Samad B, Ha P, Kratz JR, Combes AJ, Krummel MF. (2023) Transcriptional space-time mapping identifies concerted immune and stromal cell patterns and gene programs in wound healing and cancer. Cell Stem Cell 30(6):885-903.e10. [abstract]