Integrating Multiple Datasets to Better Understand Human Reproductive Function
The reproductive system is essential for the perpetuation of species as it produces the gametes, which transmit genetic information to the offspring. Problems in the reproductive system affect more than a third of adult women, and have important consequences for women’s health. However, progress in studying reproductive disorders, including endometriosis, cancer or infertility, has been limited. In recent years, members of the reproductive seed network of the Human Cell Atlas have led the generation of single-cell and spatial transcriptomic atlases of reproductive tissues across the lifespan, in health and disease. These datasets are unique resources to study the cellular communication that ensures the coordinated development and functioning of the reproductive system.
This team has developed CellPhoneDB, a computational framework that combines curated information of ligand-receptor interactions with statistical methods to identify specific cell-cell interactions in single-cell transcriptomics datasets. This project aims to develop CellPhoneDB-v5 and use it to investigate cell-cell communication across the whole reproductive system over the lifespan by integrating multiple publically available datasets. CellPhoneDB-v5 will introduce three major advances in respect to prior versions, including incorporating complementary layers of regulation (e.g. hormones and transcription factors) and integrating histological and spatial transcriptomics information to better define microenvironments. Finally, it will include the implementation of novel strategies to visualize complex signaling patterns in a user-friendly manner. CellPhoneDB-v5 will be a powerful tool to map the development, maintenance and disease of reproductive organs. The resulting map will be available to the community as an interactive web portal.