SPOTlight: seeded NMF regression to deconvolute spatial transcriptomics spots with single-cell transcriptomes.
IF: 19.160
Cited by: 256


Spatially resolved gene expression profiles are key to understand tissue organization and function. However, spatial transcriptomics (ST) profiling techniques lack single-cell resolution and require a combination with single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) information to deconvolute the spatially indexed datasets. Leveraging the strengths of both data types, we developed SPOTlight, a computational tool that enables the integration of ST with scRNA-seq data to infer the location of cell types and states within a complex tissue. SPOTlight is centered around a seeded non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) regression, initialized using cell-type marker genes and non-negative least squares (NNLS) to subsequently deconvolute ST capture locations (spots). Simulating varying reference quantities and qualities, we confirmed high prediction accuracy also with shallowly sequenced or small-sized scRNA-seq reference datasets. SPOTlight deconvolution of the mouse brain correctly mapped subtle neuronal cell states of the cortical layers and the defined architecture of the hippocampus. In human pancreatic cancer, we successfully segmented patient sections and further fine-mapped normal and neoplastic cell states. Trained on an external single-cell pancreatic tumor references, we further charted the localization of clinical-relevant and tumor-specific immune cell states, an illustrative example of its flexible application spectrum and future potential in digital pathology.


Spatial Transcriptomics

MeSH terms

Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal
Pancreatic Neoplasms
Single-Cell Analysis


Elosua-Bayes, Marc
Nieto, Paula
Mereu, Elisabetta
Gut, Ivo
Heyn, Holger

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