The zebrafish is ideal for studying embryogenesis and is increasingly applied to model human disease. In these contexts, RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) provides mechanistic insights by identifying transcriptome changes between experimental conditions. Application of RNA-seq relies on accurate transcript annotation for a genome of interest. Here, we find discrepancies in analysis from RNA-seq datasets quantified using Ensembl and RefSeq zebrafish annotations. These issues were due, in part, to variably annotated 3' untranslated regions and thousands of gene models missing from each annotation. Since these discrepancies could compromise downstream analyses and biological reproducibility, we built a more comprehensive zebrafish transcriptome annotation that addresses these deficiencies. Our annotation improves detection of cell type-specific genes in both bulk and single cell RNA-seq datasets, where it also improves resolution of cell clustering. Thus, we demonstrate that our new transcriptome annotation can outperform existing annotations, providing an important resource for zebrafish researchers.
All data generated in this study are available in accompanying source data files. Transcriptome annotation files described in this study are available for download at zf-transcriptome.umassmed.edu. Raw and processed RNA-seq data generated in this study are available at GEO (GSE152759).
Bulk RNA-seq data to assess an improved zebrafish transcriptome annotationNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE152759.
Morphogenesis and differentiation of embryonic vascular smooth muscle cells in zebrafishNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE119718.
Comprehensive identification of long non-coding RNAs expressed during zebrafish embryogenesisNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE32900.
Extensive alternative polyadenylation during zebrafish developmentNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE37453.
- Nathan D Lawson
- Onur Yukselen
- Alper Kucukural
- Onur Yukselen
- Alper Kucukural
- Nathan D Lawson
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Zebrafish studies were performed in accordance with protocols #A2613 and #A2632 approved by the University of Massachusetts institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC).
- Elisabeth Busch-Nentwich, University of Cambridge
© 2020, Lawson et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Gain-of-function mutations in the protein-tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 are the most frequently occurring mutations in sporadic juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) and JMML-like myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) associated with Noonan syndrome (NS). Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are the disease propagating cells of JMML. Here, we explored transcriptomes of HSPCs with SHP2 mutations derived from JMML patients and a novel NS zebrafish model. In addition to major NS traits, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-in Shp2D61G mutant zebrafish recapitulated a JMML-like MPN phenotype, including myeloid lineage hyperproliferation, ex vivo growth of myeloid colonies, and in vivo transplantability of HSPCs. Single-cell mRNA sequencing of HSPCs from Shp2D61G zebrafish embryos and bulk sequencing of HSPCs from JMML patients revealed an overlapping inflammatory gene expression pattern. Strikingly, an anti-inflammatory agent rescued JMML-like MPN in Shp2D61G zebrafish embryos. Our results indicate that a common inflammatory response was triggered in the HSPCs from sporadic JMML patients and syndromic NS zebrafish, which potentiated MPN and may represent a future target for JMML therapies.
Zebrafish are an established research organism that has made many contributions to our understanding of vertebrate tissue and organ development, yet there are still significant gaps in our understanding of the genes that regulate gonad development, sex, and reproduction. Unlike the development of many organs, such as the brain and heart that form during the first few days of development, zebrafish gonads do not begin to form until the larval stage (≥5 dpf). Thus, forward genetic screens have identified very few genes required for gonad development. In addition, bulk RNA sequencing studies which identify genes expressed in the gonads do not have the resolution necessary to define minor cell populations that may play significant roles in development and function of these organs. To overcome these limitations, we have used single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the transcriptomes of cells isolated from juvenile zebrafish ovaries. This resulted in the profiles of 10,658 germ cells and 14,431 somatic cells. Our germ cell data represents all developmental stages from germline stem cells to early meiotic oocytes. Our somatic cell data represents all known somatic cell types, including follicle cells, theca cells and ovarian stromal cells. Further analysis revealed an unexpected number of cell subpopulations within these broadly defined cell types. To further define their functional significance, we determined the location of these cell subpopulations within the ovary. Finally, we used gene knockout experiments to determine the roles of foxl2l and wnt9b for oocyte development and sex determination and/or differentiation, respectively. Our results reveal novel insights into zebrafish ovarian development and function and the transcriptome profiles will provide a valuable resource for future studies.