Advance and Application of Single-cell Transcriptomics in Auditory Research

 Xiangyu Ma1  · Jiamin Guo1  · Mengyao Tian1  · Yaoyang Fu2  · Pei Jiang1  · Yuan Zhang3,4 · Renjie Chai1,5,6,7,8
1 State Key Laboratory of Digital Medical Engineering, Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Zhongda Hospital, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Advanced Institute for Life and Health, Jiangsu Province High-Tech Key Laboratory for Bio-Medical Research, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China 
2 Department of Psychiatry, Afliated Hangzhou First People’s Hospital, Zhejiang University school of Medicine, Hangzhou 310030, China 
3 Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Afliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Jiangsu Provincial Key Medical Discipline (Laboratory), Nanjing, China 
4 Research Institute of Otolaryngology, Nanjing 210008, China 
5 Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610072, China 
6 Co-Innovation Center of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong 226001, China 
7 Institute for Stem Cell and Regeneration, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 101408, China 
8 Beijing Key Laboratory of Neural Regeneration and Repair, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China

Hearing loss and deafness, as a worldwide disability disease, have been troubling human beings. However, the auditory organ of the inner ear is highly heterogeneous and has a very limited number of cells, which are largely uncharacterized in depth. Recently, with the development and utilization of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), researchers have been able to unveil the complex and sophisticated biological mechanisms of various types of cells in the auditory organ at the single-cell level and address the challenges of cellular heterogeneity that are not resolved through by conventional bulk RNA sequencing (bulk RNA-seq). Herein, we reviewed the application of scRNA-seq technology in auditory research, with the aim of providing a reference for the development of auditory organs, the pathogenesis of hearing loss, and regenerative therapy. Prospects about spatial transcriptomic scRNA-seq, single-cell based genome, and Live-seq technology will also be discussed.

Single-cell RNA sequencing; Inner ear; Cochlear; Auditory sensory epithelium; Spiral ganglion neuron