Cell-type-aware analysis of RNA-seq data

Chong Jin, Mengjie Chen, Dan Yu Lin, Wei Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Most tissue samples are composed of different cell types. Differential expression analysis without accounting for cell-type composition cannot separate the changes due to cell-type composition or cell type-specific expression. We propose a computational framework to address these limitations: CARseq (cell-type-aware analysis of RNA-seq). CARseq employs a negative binomial distribution that appropriately models the count data from RNA-seq experiments. Simulation studies show that CARseq has substantially higher power than a linear model-based approach and it also provides more accurate estimate of the rankings of differentially expressed genes. We have applied CARseq to compare gene expression of schizophrenia/autism subjects versus controls, and identified the cell types underlying the difference and similarities of these two neuron-developmental diseases. Our results are consistent with the results from differential expression analysis using single-cell RNA-seq data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalNature Computational Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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