Global, integrated analysis of methylomes and transcriptomes from laser capture microdissected bronchial and alveolar cells in human lung

Xiao Dong, Miao Shi, Moonsook Lee, Rafael Toro, Silvia Gravina, Weiguo Han, Shoya Yasuda, Tao Wang, Zhengdong Zhang, Jan Vijg, Yousin Suh, Simon D. Spivack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Gene regulatory analysis of highly diverse human tissues in vivo is essentially constrained by the challenge of performing genome-wide, integrated epigenetic and transcriptomic analysis in small selected groups of specific cell types. Here we performed genome-wide bisulfite sequencing and RNA-seq from the same small groups of bronchial and alveolar cells isolated by laser capture microdissection from flash-frozen lung tissue of 12 donors and their peripheral blood T cells. Methylation and transcriptome patterns differed between alveolar and bronchial cells, while each of these epithelia showed more differences from mesodermally-derived T cells. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between alveolar and bronchial cells tended to locate at regulatory regions affecting promoters of 4,350 genes. A large number of pathways enriched for these DMRs including GTPase signal transduction, cell death, and skeletal muscle. Similar patterns of transcriptome differences were observed: 4,108 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) enriched in GTPase signal transduction, inflammation, cilium assembly, and others. Prioritizing using DMR-DEG regulatory network, we highlighted genes, e.g., ETS1, PPARG, and RXRG, at prominent alveolar vs. bronchial cell discriminant nodes. Our results show that multi-omic analysis of small, highly specific cells is feasible and yields unique physiologic loci distinguishing human lung cell types in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-274
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018



  • RNA sequencing
  • alveolar cell
  • bronchial cell
  • laser capture microdissection
  • whole-genome bisulfite sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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