A copula based topology preserving graph convolution network for clustering of single-cell RNA-seq data

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

PLoS Computational Biology


Annotation of cells in single-cell clustering requires a homogeneous grouping of cell populations. There are various issues in single cell sequencing that effect homogeneous grouping (clustering) of cells, such as small amount of starting RNA, limited per-cell sequenced reads, cell-to-cell variability due to cell-cycle, cellular morphology, and variable reagent concentrations. Moreover, single cell data is susceptible to technical noise, which affects the quality of genes (or features) selected/extracted prior to clustering. Here we introduce sc-CGconv (copula based graph convolution network for single clustering), a stepwise robust unsupervised feature extraction and clustering approach that formulates and aggregates cell–cell relationships using copula correlation (Ccor), followed by a graph convolution network based clustering approach. sc-CGconv formulates a cell-cell graph using Ccor that is learned by a graph-based artificial intelligence model, graph convolution network. The learned representation (low dimensional embedding) is utilized for cell clustering. sc-CGconv features the following advantages. a. sc-CGconv works with substantially smaller sample sizes to identify homogeneous clusters. b. sc-CGconv can model the expression co-variability of a large number of genes, thereby outperforming state-of-the-art gene selection/extraction methods for clustering. c. sc-CGconv preserves the cell-to-cell variability within the selected gene set by constructing a cell-cell graph through copula correlation measure. d. sc-CGconv provides a topology-preserving embedding of cells in low dimensional space.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold, Green

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