A single cell type map of human tissues

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The relationship between some of the major human cell types analyzed in the publication by Karlsson et al (2021).

In a study published in the US journal Science Advances, a single cell type map of human tissues is presented. An open access atlas has been launched with more than 250,000 interactive plots to allow researchers to explore the expression in individual single cell types for all protein-coding genes in these tissues.

The new knowledge portal has been created as part of the Sweden-based Human Protein Atlas program (www.proteinatlas.org), combining single cell data with antibody-based profiling to allow a holistic cell-, tissue- and organ-wide map of the proteins across the human body to act as a basis for research in human biology and disease. The analysis highlights distinct expression clusters corresponding to cell types sharing similar functions, both within the same organs and between organs. Across all analyzed cell types, almost 14,000 genes showed an elevated expression in particular cell types, out of which approximately 2,000 genes were found to be specific for only one of the cell types. Cell types in testis showed the highest numbers of cell type elevated genes, followed by ciliated cells. Interestingly, only 11% of the genes were detected in all analyzed cell types suggesting that the number of essential genes ("house-keeping") are surprisingly few.

Publication: Karlsson et al "A single cell type transcriptomics map of human tissues" Sci. Adv. 7, abh2169 (2021).

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