The thyroid gland regulates growth and metabolism via production of thyroid hormone in follicles composed of thyrocytes. So far, thyrocytes have been assumed to be a homogenous population. To uncover heterogeneity in the thyrocyte population and molecularly characterize the non-thyrocyte cells surrounding the follicle, we developed a single-cell transcriptome atlas of the region containing the zebrafish thyroid gland. The 6249-cell atlas includes profiles of thyrocytes, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, immune cells, and fibroblasts. Further, the thyrocytes show expression heterogeneity, including bimodal expression of the transcription factor pax2a. To validate thyrocyte heterogeneity, we generated a CRISPR/Cas9-based pax2a knock-in line that monitors pax2a expression in the thyrocytes. A population of pax2a-low mature thyrocytes interspersed in individual follicles can be distinguished. We corroborate heterogeneity within the thyrocyte population using RNA sequencing of pax2a-high and pax2a-low thyrocytes, which demonstrates 20% differential expression in transcriptome between the two subpopulations. Our results identify and validate transcriptional differences within the presumed homogenous thyrocyte population.
|Number of pages
|Early online date
|Published - 3 Dec 2020
Research priority areas of TU Dresden
DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards
- Crispr, Cas9, Cell, Heterogeneity, Single‐, Thyroid gland, Zebrafish