Sparcle: assigning transcripts to cells in multiplexed images

Sandhya Prabhakaran
Bioinformatics Advances


Imaging-based spatial transcriptomics has the power to reveal patterns of single-cell gene expression by detecting mRNA transcripts as individually resolved spots in multiplexed images. However, molecular quantification has been severely limited by the computational challenges of segmenting poorly outlined, overlapping cells and of overcoming technical noise; the majority of transcripts are routinely discarded because they fall outside the segmentation boundaries. This lost information leads to less accurate gene count matrices and weakens downstream analyses, such as cell type or gene program identification.