Brain-wide correspondence of neuronal epigenomics and distant projections

Jingtian Zhou, Zhuzhu Zhang, May Wu, Hanqing Liu, Yan Pang, Anna Bartlett, Zihao Peng, Wubin Ding, Angeline Rivkin, Will N. Lagos, Elora Williams, Cheng-Ta Lee, Paula Assakura Miyazaki, Andrew Aldridge, Qiurui Zeng, J. L. Angelo Salinda, Naomi Claffey, Michelle Liem, Conor Fitzpatrick, Lara Boggeman, Zizhen Yao, Kimberly A. Smith, Bosiljka Tasic, Jordan Altshul, Mia A. Kenworthy, Cynthia Valadon, Joseph R. Nery, Rosa G. Castanon, Neelakshi S. Patne, Minh Vu, Mohammad Rashid, Matthew Jacobs, Tony Ito, Julia Osteen, Nora Emerson, Jasper Lee, Silvia Cho, Jon Rink, Hsiang-Hsuan Huang, António Pinto-Duartec, Bertha Dominguez, Jared B. Smith, Carolyn O’Connor, Hongkui Zeng, Shengbo Chen, Kuo-Fen Lee, Eran A. Mukamel, Xin Jin, M. Margarita Behrens, Joseph R. Ecker & Edward M. Callaway
Nature (2023)


Single-cell analyses parse the brain’s billions of neurons into thousands of ‘cell-type’ clusters residing in different brain structures1. Many cell types mediate their functions through targeted long-distance projections allowing interactions between specific cell types. Here we used epi-retro-seq2 to link single-cell epigenomes and cell types to long-distance projections for 33,034 neurons dissected from 32 different regions projecting to 24 different targets (225 source-to-target combinations) across the whole mouse brain. We highlight uses of these data for interrogating principles relating projection types to transcriptomics and epigenomics, and for addressing hypotheses about cell types and connections related to genetics. We provide an overall synthesis with 926 statistical comparisons of discriminability of neurons projecting to each target for every source. We integrate this dataset into the larger BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network atlas, composed of millions of neurons, to link projection cell types to consensus clusters. Integration with spatial transcriptomics further assigns projection-enriched clusters to smaller source regions than the original dissections. We exemplify this by presenting in-depth analyses of projection neurons from the hypothalamus, thalamus, hindbrain, amygdala and midbrain to provide insights into properties of those cell types, including differentially expressed genes, their associated cis-regulatory elements and transcription-factor-binding motifs, and neurotransmitter use.