Application of single cell transcriptomics to kinetoplastid research

Emma M. Briggs, Felix S. L. Warren, Keith R. Matthews, Richard McCulloch, Thomas D. Otto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Kinetoplastid parasites are responsible for both human and animal diseases across the globe where they have a great impact on health and economic well-being. Many species and life cycle stages are difficult to study due to limitations in isolation and culture, as well as to their existence as heterogeneous populations in hosts and vectors. Single-cell transcriptomics (scRNA-seq) has the capacity to overcome many of these difficulties, and can be leveraged to disentangle heterogeneous populations, highlight genes crucial for propagation through the life cycle, and enable detailed analysis of host–parasite interactions. Here, we provide a review of studies that have applied scRNA-seq to protozoan parasites so far. In addition, we provide an overview of sample preparation and technology choice considerations when planning scRNA-seq experiments, as well as challenges faced when analysing the large amounts of data generated. Finally, we highlight areas of kinetoplastid research that could benefit from scRNA-seq technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Early online date8 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Mar 2021


  • bioinformatics
  • gene expression
  • kinetoplastid
  • parasitology
  • single cell transcriptomics


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