miRSCAPE - inferring miRNA expression from scRNA-seq data

Olgun G., Gopalan V., Hannenhalli S.

iScience, vol.25, no.9, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104962
  • Journal Name: iScience
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Biocomputational method, Cancer systems biology, Transcriptomics
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Our understanding of miRNA activity at cellular resolution is thwarted by the inability of standard scRNA-seq protocols to capture miRNAs. We introduce a novel tool, miRSCAPE, to infer miRNA expression in a sample from its RNA-seq profile. We establish miRSCAPE's accuracy in 10 tumor and normal cohorts demonstrating its superiority over alternatives. miRSCAPE accurately infers cell type-specific miRNA activities (predicted versus observed fold-difference correlation ∼0.81) in two independent scRNA-seq datasets. We apply miRSCAPE to infer miRNA activities in scRNA clusters in pancreatic and lung adenocarcinomas, as well as in 56 cell types in the human cell landscape (HCL). In pancreatic and breast cancer scRNA-seq data, miRSCAPE recapitulates miRNAs associated with stemness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) cell states, respectively. Overall, miRSCAPE recapitulates and refines miRNA biology at cellular resolution. miRSCAPE is freely available and is easily applicable to scRNA-seq data to infer miRNA activities at cellular resolution.