Conservation and divergence of cortical cell organization in human and mouse revealed by MERFISH

Rongxin Fang, Chenglong Xia, Jennie L. Close, Meng Zhang, Jiang He, Zhengkai Huang, Aaron R. Halpern, Brian Long, Jeremy A. Miller, Ed S. Lein, Xiaowei Zhuang
Science (2022)


The human cerebral cortex has tremendous cellular diversity. How different cell types are organized in the human cortex and how cellular organization varies across species remain unclear. In this study, we performed spatially resolved single-cell profiling of 4000 genes using multiplexed error-robust fluorescence in situ hybridization (MERFISH), identified more than 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations, and generated a molecularly defined and spatially resolved cell atlas of the human middle and superior temporal gyrus. We further explored cell-cell interactions arising from soma contact or proximity in a cell type–specific manner. Comparison of the human and mouse cortices showed conservation in the laminar organization of cells and differences in somatic interactions across species. Our data revealed human-specific cell-cell proximity patterns and a markedly increased enrichment for interactions between neurons and non-neuronal cells in the human cortex.