Spatial Transcriptomics of C. elegans Males and Hermaphrodites Identifies Sex-Specific Differences in Gene Expression Patterns

Annabel Ebbing, Ábel Vértesy, Marco C Betist, Bastiaan Spanjaard, Jan Philipp Junker, Eugene Berezikov, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Hendrik C Korswagen

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

To advance our understanding of the genetic programs that drive cell and tissue specialization, it is necessary to obtain a comprehensive overview of gene expression patterns. Here, we have used spatial transcriptomics to generate high-resolution, anteroposterior gene expression maps of C. elegans males and hermaphrodites. To explore these maps, we have developed computational methods for discovering region- and tissue-specific genes. We have found extensive sex-specific gene expression differences in the germline and sperm and discovered genes that are specifically expressed in the male reproductive tract. These include a group of uncharacterized genes that encode small secreted proteins that are required for male fertility. We conclude that spatial gene expression maps provide a powerful resource for identifying tissue-specific gene functions in C. elegans. Importantly, we found that expression maps from different animals can be precisely aligned, enabling transcriptome-wide comparisons of gene expression patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-813.e6
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2018

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