Copy-scAT: Deconvoluting single-cell chromatin accessibility of genetic subclones in cancer


Single-cell epigenomic assays have tremendous potential to illuminate mechanisms of transcriptional control in functionally diverse cancer cell populations. However, application of these techniques to clinical tumor specimens has been hampered by the current inability to distinguish malignant from nonmalignant cells, which potently confounds data analysis and interpretation. Here, we describe Copy-scAT, an R package that uses single-cell epigenomic data to infer copy number variants (CNVs) that define cancer cells. Copy-scAT enables studies of subclonal chromatin dynamics in complex tumors like glioblastoma. By deploying Copy-scAT, we uncovered potent influences of genetics on chromatin accessibility profiles in individual subclones. Consequently, some genetic subclones were predisposed to acquire stem-like or more differentiated molecular phenotypes, reminiscent of developmental paradigms. Copy-scAT is ideal for studies of the relationships between genetics and epigenetics in malignancies with high levels of intratumoral heterogeneity and to investigate how cancer cells interface with their microenvironment.

PMID: 34644115

Keywords: Epigenomics, brain cancer, snATAC, scATAC


All rights reserved.