Published on Mon Jun 28 2021

Single-cell reconstitution reveals persistence of clonal heterogeneity in the murine hematopoietic system

Kubasova, N., F. Alves-Pereira, C., Gupta, S., Vinogradova, S., Gimelbrant, A., M. Barreto, V.

The persistence of patterns of monoallelic expression is a controversial matter. In a striking contrast to the frequency of genes with clonal allelic expression differences in clones expanded without differentiation (up to 10%), we find that clones that have undergone multiple differentiation steps in vivo are more similar to each other.

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Abstract

The persistence of patterns of monoallelic expression is a controversial matter. We report a genome-wide in vivo transcriptomics approach based on allelic expression imbalance to evaluate whether the transcriptional allelic patterns of single murine hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are still present in the respective differentiated clonal B-cell populations. For 14 genes, we show conclusive evidence for a remarkable persistence in HSC-derived B clonal cells of allele-specific autosomal transcriptional states already present in HSCs. In a striking contrast to the frequency of genes with clonal allelic expression differences in clones expanded without differentiation (up to 10%), we find that clones that have undergone multiple differentiation steps in vivo are more similar to each other. These data suggest that most of the random allele-specific stable transcriptional states on autosomal chromosomes are established de novo during cell lineage differentiation. Given that allele-specific transcriptional states are more stable in cells not undergoing extensive differentiation than in the clones we assessed after full lineage differentiation in vivo, we introduce the "Punctuated Disequilibria" model: random allelic expression biases are stable if the cells are not undergoing differentiation, but may change during differentiation between developmental stages and reach a new stable equilibrium that will only be challenged if the cell engages in further differentiation. Thus, the transcriptional allelic states may not be a stable feature of the differentiating clone, but phenotypic diversity between clones of a population at any given stage of the cell lineage is still ensured.