Screening cell-cell communication in spatial transcriptomics via collective optimal transport.
IF: 47.990
Cited by: 19


Spatial transcriptomic technologies and spatially annotated single-cell RNA sequencing datasets provide unprecedented opportunities to dissect cell-cell communication (CCC). However, incorporation of the spatial information and complex biochemical processes required in the reconstruction of CCC remains a major challenge. Here, we present COMMOT (COMMunication analysis by Optimal Transport) to infer CCC in spatial transcriptomics, which accounts for the competition between different ligand and receptor species as well as spatial distances between cells. A collective optimal transport method is developed to handle complex molecular interactions and spatial constraints. Furthermore, we introduce downstream analysis tools to infer spatial signaling directionality and genes regulated by signaling using machine learning models. We apply COMMOT to simulation data and eight spatial datasets acquired with five different technologies to show its effectiveness and robustness in identifying spatial CCC in data with varying spatial resolutions and gene coverages. Finally, COMMOT identifies new CCCs during skin morphogenesis in a case study of human epidermal development.


Spatial Transcriptomics

MeSH terms

Cell Communication
Gene Expression Profiling
Signal Transduction
Computer Simulation
Single-Cell Analysis


Cang, Zixuan
Zhao, Yanxiang
Almet, Axel A
Stabell, Adam
Ramos, Raul
Plikus, Maksim V
Atwood, Scott X
Nie, Qing