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In Cell genomics

Using adult zebrafish inner ears as a model for sensorineural regeneration, we ablated the mechanosensory receptors and characterized the single-cell epigenome and transcriptome at consecutive time points during hair cell regeneration. We utilized deep learning on the regeneration-induced open chromatin sequences and identified cell-specific transcription factor (TF) motif patterns. Enhancer activity correlated with gene expression and identified potential gene regulatory networks. A pattern of overlapping Sox- and Six-family TF gene expression and binding motifs was detected, suggesting a combinatorial program of TFs driving regeneration and cell identity. Pseudotime analysis of single-cell transcriptomic data suggested that support cells within the sensory epithelium changed cell identity to a "progenitor" cell population that could differentiate into hair cells. We identified a 2.6 kb DNA enhancer upstream of the sox2 promoter that, when deleted, showed a dominant phenotype that resulted in a hair-cell-regeneration-specific deficit in both the lateral line and adult inner ear.

Jimenez Erin, Slevin Claire C, Song Wei, Chen Zelin, Frederickson Stephen C, Gildea Derek, Wu Weiwei, Elkahloun Abdel G, Ovcharenko Ivan, Burgess Shawn M