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International Journal of Molecular Sciences




Inferring gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) data is an important computational question to find regulatory mechanisms involved in fundamental cellular processes. Although many computational methods have been designed to predict GRNs from scRNA-seq data, they usually have high false positive rates and none infer GRNs by directly using the paired datasets of case-versus-control experiments. Here we present a novel deep-learning-based method, named scTIGER, for GRN detection by using the co-differential relationships of gene expression profiles in paired scRNA-seq datasets. scTIGER employs cell-type-based pseudotiming, an attention-based convolutional neural network method and permutation-based significance testing for inferring GRNs among gene modules. As state-of-the-art applications, we first applied scTIGER to scRNA-seq datasets of prostate cancer cells, and successfully identified the dynamic regulatory networks of AR, ERG, PTEN and ATF3 for same-cell type between prostatic cancerous and normal conditions, and two-cell types within the prostatic cancerous environment. We then applied scTIGER to scRNA-seq data from neurons with and without fear memory and detected specific regulatory networks for BDNF, CREB1 and MAPK4. Additionally, scTIGER demonstrates robustness against high levels of dropout noise in scRNA-seq data.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.