Despite rapid advances in connectome mapping and neuronal genetics, we lack theoretical and computational tools to unveil, in an experimentally testable fashion, the genetic mechanisms that govern neuronal wiring. Here we introduce a computational framework to link the adjacency matrix of a connectome to the expression patterns of its neurons, helping us uncover a set of genetic rules that govern the interactions between neurons in contact. The method incorporates the biological realities of the system, accounting for noise from data collection limitations, as well as spatial restrictions. The resulting methodology allows us to infer a network of 19 innexin interactions that govern the formation of gap junctions in Caenorhabditis elegans, five of which are already supported by experimental data. As advances in single-cell gene expression profiling increase the accuracy and the coverage of the data, the developed framework will allow researchers to systematically infer experimentally testable connection rules, offering mechanistic predictions for synapse and gap junction formation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Dec 2020|
- C. elegans
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