Neuronal differentiation strategies: Insights from single-cell sequencing and machine learning

Nikolaos Konstantinides, Claude Desplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuronal replacement therapies rely on the in vitro differentiation of specific cell types from embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells, or on the direct reprogramming of differentiated adult cells via the expression of transcription factors or signaling molecules. The factors used to induce differentiation or reprogramming are often identified by informed guesses based on differential gene expression or known roles for these factors during development. Moreover, differentiation protocols usually result in partly differentiated cells or the production of a mix of cell types. In this Hypothesis article, we suggest that, to overcome these inefficiencies and improve neuronal differentiation protocols, we need to take into account the developmental history of the desired cell types. Specifically, we present a strategy that uses single-cell sequencing techniques combined with machine learning as a principled method to select a sequence of programming factors that are important not only in adult neurons but also during differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev193631
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • In vitro differentiation
  • Machine learning
  • Neuronal development
  • Neuronal differentiation protocols
  • Neuronal replacement therapy
  • Single-cell sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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