Abstract : Single-cell research has provided a breakthrough in biology to understand heterogeneous cell groups, such as tissues and organs, in development and disease. Molecular barcoding and subsequent sequencing technology insert a singlecell barcode into isolated single cells, allowing separation cell by cell. Given that multimodal information from a cell defines precise cellular states, recent technical advances in methods focus on simultaneously extracting multimodal data recorded in different biological materials (DNA, RNA, protein, etc.). This review summarizes recently developed singlecell multiomics approaches regarding genome, epigenome, and protein profiles with the transcriptome. In particular, we focus on how to anchor or tag molecules from a cell, improve throughputs with sample multiplexing, and record lineages, and we further discuss the future developments of the technology.
Abstract : The genome is almost identical in all the cells of the body. However, the functions and morphologies of each cell are different, and the factors that determine them are the genes and proteins expressed in the cells. Over the past decades, studies on epigenetic information, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin accessibility, and chromatin conformation have shown that these properties play a fundamental role in gene regulation. Furthermore, various diseases such as cancer have been found to be associated with epigenetic mechanisms. In this study, we summarized the biological properties of epigenetics and single-cell epigenomic profiling techniques, and discussed future challenges in the field of epigenetics.
Abstract : Tumors are surrounded by a variety of tumor microenvironmental cells. Profiling individual cells within the tumor tissues is crucial to characterize the tumor microenvironment and its therapeutic implications. Since single-cell technologies are still not cost-effective, scientists have developed many statistical deconvolution methods to delineate cellular characteristics from bulk transcriptome data. Here, we present an overview of 20 deconvolution techniques, including cutting-edge techniques recently established. We categorized deconvolution techniques by three primary criteria: characteristics of methodology, use of prior knowledge of cell types and outcome of the methods. We highlighted the advantage of the recent deconvolution tools that are based on probabilistic models. Moreover, we illustrated two scenarios of the common application of deconvolution methods to study tumor microenvironments. This comprehensive review will serve as a guideline for the researchers to select the appropriate method for their application of deconvolution.
Yeonjae Ryu , Geun Hee Han , Eunsoo Jung , and Daehee HwangMol. Cells 2023; 46(2): 106-119 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.0009
Abstract : With the increased number of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) datasets in public repositories, integrative analysis of multiple scRNA-seq datasets has become commonplace. Batch effects among different datasets are inevitable because of differences in cell isolation and handling protocols, library preparation technology, and sequencing platforms. To remove these batch effects for effective integration of multiple scRNA-seq datasets, a number of methodologies have been developed based on diverse concepts and approaches. These methods have proven useful for examining whether cellular features, such as cell subpopulations and marker genes, identified from a certain dataset, are consistently present, or whether their condition-dependent variations, such as increases in cell subpopulations in particular disease-related conditions, are consistently observed in different datasets generated under similar or distinct conditions. In this review, we summarize the concepts and approaches of the integration methods and their pros and cons as has been reported in previous literature.
Seyoung Jung and Jeong Seok LeeMol. Cells 2023; 46(2): 120-129 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.0002
Abstract : Recent technical advances have enabled unbiased transcriptomic and epigenetic analysis of each cell, known as “single-cell analysis”. Single-cell analysis has a variety of technical approaches to investigate the state of each cell, including mRNA levels (transcriptome), the immune repertoire (immune repertoire analysis), cell surface proteins (surface proteome analysis), chromatin accessibility (epigenome), and accordance with genome variants (eQTLs; expression quantitative trait loci). As an effective tool for investigating robust immune responses in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many researchers performed single-cell analysis to capture the diverse, unbiased immune cell activation and differentiation. Despite challenges elucidating the complicated immune microenvironments of chronic inflammatory diseases using existing experimental methods, it is now possible to capture the simultaneous immune features of different cell types across inflamed tissues using various single-cell tools. In this review, we introduce patient-based and experimental mouse model research utilizing single-cell analyses in the field of chronic inflammatory diseases, as well as multi-organ atlas targeting immune cells.
Abstract : The advent of the CRISPR-Cas genome editing platform has greatly enhanced the capabilities of researchers in many areas of biology. Its use has also been turned to the development of therapies for genetic diseases and to the enhancement of cell therapies. This review describes some recent advances in these areas.
Young Jin Kim and Adrian R. KrainerMol. Cells 2023; 46(1): 10-20 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.2172
Abstract : Antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) technology has become an attractive therapeutic modality for various diseases, including Mendelian disorders. ASOs can modulate the expression of a target gene by promoting mRNA degradation or changing pre-mRNA splicing, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, or translation. Advances in medicinal chemistry and a deeper understanding of post-transcriptional mechanisms have led to the approval of several ASO drugs for diseases that had long lacked therapeutic options. For instance, an ASO drug called nusinersen became the first approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy, improving survival and the overall disease course. Mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene cause cystic fibrosis (CF). Although Trikafta and other CFTR-modulation therapies benefit most CF patients, there is a significant unmet therapeutic need for a subset of CF patients. In this review, we introduce ASO therapies and their mechanisms of action, describe the opportunities and challenges for ASO therapeutics for CF, and discuss the current state and prospects of ASO therapies for CF.
Hyeonseo Hwang , Hee Ryung Chang , and Daehyun BaekMol. Cells 2023; 46(1): 21-32 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.2157
Abstract : MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play cardinal roles in regulating biological pathways and processes, resulting in significant physiological effects. To understand the complex regulatory network of miRNAs, previous studies have utilized massivescale datasets of miRNA targeting and attempted to computationally predict the functional targets of miRNAs. Many miRNA target prediction tools have been developed and are widely used by scientists from various fields of biology and medicine. Most of these tools consider seed pairing between miRNAs and their mRNA targets and additionally consider other determinants to improve prediction accuracy. However, these tools exhibit limited prediction accuracy and high false positive rates. The utilization of additional determinants, such as RNA modifications and RNA-binding protein binding sites, may further improve miRNA target prediction. In this review, we discuss the determinants of functional miRNA targeting that are currently used in miRNA target prediction and the potentially predictive but unappreciated determinants that may improve prediction accuracy.
Mingyu Ju , Dayeon Kim , Geurim Son , and Jinju HanMol. Cells 2023; 46(1): 33-40 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.2170
Abstract : RNAs are versatile molecules that are primarily involved in gene regulation and can thus be widely used to advance the fields of therapeutics and diagnostics. In particular, circular RNAs which are highly stable, have emerged as strong candidates for use on next-generation therapeutic platforms. Endogenous circular RNAs control gene regulatory networks by interacting with other biomolecules or through translation into polypeptides. Circular RNAs exhibit cell-type specific expression patterns, which can be altered in tissues and body fluids depending on pathophysiological conditions. Circular RNAs that are aberrantly expressed in diseases can function as biomarkers or therapeutic targets. Moreover, exogenous circular RNAs synthesized in vitro can be introduced into cells as therapeutic molecules to modulate gene expression networks in vivo. Depending on the purpose, synthetic circular RNA sequences can either be identical to endogenous circular RNA sequences or artificially designed. In this review, we introduce the life cycle and known functions of intracellular circular RNAs. The current stage of endogenous circular RNAs as biomarkers and therapeutic targets is also described. Finally, approaches and considerations that are important for applying the available knowledge on endogenous circular RNAs to design exogenous circular RNAs for therapeutic purposes are presented.
Abstract : The rapid development of mRNA vaccines has contributed to the management of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, suggesting that this technology may be used to manage future outbreaks of infectious diseases. Because the antigens targeted by mRNA vaccines can be easily altered by simply changing the sequence present in the coding region of mRNA structures, it is more appropriate to develop vaccines, especially during rapidly developing outbreaks of infectious diseases. In addition to allowing rapid development, mRNA vaccines have great potential in inducing successful antigen-specific immunity by expressing target antigens in cells and simultaneously triggering immune responses. Indeed, the two COVID-19 mRNA vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have shown significant efficacy in preventing infections. The ability of mRNAs to produce target proteins that are defective in specific diseases has enabled the development of options to treat intractable diseases. Clinical applications of mRNA vaccines/therapeutics require strategies to safely deliver the RNA molecules into targeted cells. The present review summarizes current knowledge about mRNA vaccines/ therapeutics, their clinical applications, and their delivery strategies.
Abstract : Genomic information stored in the DNA is transcribed to the mRNA and translated to proteins. The 3′ untranslated regions (3′UTRs) of the mRNA serve pivotal roles in posttranscriptional gene expression, regulating mRNA stability, translation, and localization. Similar to DNA mutations producing aberrant proteins, RNA alterations expand the transcriptome landscape and change the cellular proteome. Recent global analyses reveal that many genes express various forms of altered RNAs, including 3′UTR length variants. Alternative polyadenylation and alternative splicing are involved in diversifying 3′UTRs, which could act as a hidden layer of eukaryotic gene expression control. In this review, we summarize the functions and regulations of 3′UTRs and elaborate on the generation and functional consequences of 3′UTR diversity. Given that dynamic 3′UTR length control contributes to phenotypic complexity, dysregulated 3′UTR diversity might be relevant to disease development, including cancers. Thus, 3′UTR diversity in cancer could open exciting new research areas and provide avenues for novel cancer theragnostics.
Yajing Hao , Ting Cai , Chang Liu , Xuan Zhang , and Xiang-Dong FuMol. Cells 2023; 46(1): 57-64 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2023.2176
Abstract : In eukaryotic cells, a key RNA processing step to generate mature mRNA is the coupled reaction for cleavage and polyadenylation (CPA) at the 3′ end of individual transcripts. Many transcripts are alternatively polyadenylated (APA) to produce mRNAs with different 3′ ends that may either alter protein coding sequence (CDS-APA) or create different lengths of 3′UTR (tandem-APA). As the CPA reaction is intimately associated with transcriptional termination, it has been widely assumed that APA is regulated cotranscriptionally. Isoforms terminated at different regions may have distinct RNA stability under different conditions, thus altering the ratio of APA isoforms. Such differential impacts on different isoforms have been considered as post-transcriptional APA, but strictly speaking, this can only be considered “apparent” APA, as the choice is not made during the CPA reaction. Interestingly, a recent study reveals sequential APA as a new mechanism for post-transcriptional APA. This minireview will focus on this new mechanism to provide insights into various documented regulatory paradigms.
Yuan-Shen Chen, Wei-Chu Chuang, Hsiu-Ni Kung, Ching-Yuan Cheng, Duen-Yi Huang, Ponarulselvam Sekar, and Wan-Wan LinMol. Cells 2022;45: 257-272 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0193
Feng Guo, Chengchun Tang, Bo Huang, Lifei Gu, Jun Zhou, Zongyang Mo, Chang Liu, and Yuqing LiuMol. Cells 2022;45: 122-133 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0066
Bor Luen TangMol. Cells 2016;39: 87-95 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0066
Jin Young Huh, Yoon Jeong Park, Mira Ham, and Jae Bum KimMol. Cells 2014;37: 365-371 https://doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.0066