Cell type discovery and representation in the era of high-content single cell phenotyping
Bakken T, Cowell L, Aevermann BD, Novotny M, Hodge R, Miller JA, Lee A, Chang I, McCorrison J, Pulendran B, Qian Y, Schork NJ, Lasken RS, Lein ES, Scheuermann RH
A fundamental characteristic of multicellular organisms is the specialization of functional cell types through the process of differentiation. These specialized cell types not only characterize the normal functioning of different organs and tissues, they can also be used as cellular biomarkers of a variety of different disease states and therapeutic/vaccine responses. In order to serve as a reference for cell type representation, the Cell Ontology has been developed to provide a standard nomenclature of defined cell types for comparative analysis and biomarker discovery. Historically, these cell types have been defined based on unique cellular shapes and structures, anatomic locations, and marker protein expression. However, we are now experiencing a revolution in cellular characterization resulting from the application of new high-throughput, high-content cytometry and sequencing technologies. The resulting explosion in the number of distinct cell types being identified is challenging the current paradigm for cell type definition in the Cell Ontology.