In this week's Science, a group of Harvard investigators presents a new method for measuring genome-wide expression at a cellular resolution. Called Slide-seq, the technique involves transferring RNA from tissue sections onto a surface covered in DNA-barcoded beads with known positions, which allows the locations of the RNA to be inferred by sequencing. The researchers used their approach to localize cell types identified by single-cell RNA sequencing datasets within the cerebellum and hippocampus, to characterize spatial gene expression patterns in the Purkinje layer of mouse cerebellum, and define the temporal evolution of cell type–specific responses in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury.
And in Science Translational Medicine, a multi-institute team of Chinese researchers reports the identification of genetic mutations associated with an inherited form of female infertility that is characterized by oocyte death. Using whole-exome sequencing and other techniques, the researchers studied four families with this type of infertility, analyzing oocytes from five female family members. They find that oocyte death is due to mutations in pannexin 1 — a channel-forming glycoprotein involved in cellular communication — that cause the protein to accumulate at the wrong location within oocytes. Notably, introducing a mutated form of the human gene that expresses pannexin 1 in mice caused infertility in the animals.