Single-Cell Transcriptomics Fuels Cell-Cell Communication Insights

Cell-cell communication (CCC) is crucial for the smooth functioning of tissues and required for organisms to remain healthy—many diseases are known to involve defects in cell-cell interactions (CCIs). Most CCC is governed by receptor-ligand interactions (LLIs), where cell A sends a ligand “message” that is received upon binding to a receptor expressed by cell B. Cells have evolved manifold means of ligand-receptor signaling to communicate in different circumstances. Cells send autocrine signals to themselves, and use gap junction signals to interact with neighboring cells to which they are physically connected via gap junction channels. Cells also interact with nearby and distant neighbors using paracrine and endocrine signals, respectively.