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Reproducibility of Molecular Phenotypes after Long-Term Differentiation to Human iPSC-Derived Neurons: A Multi-Site Omics Study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tomas Barta, Professor Majlinda LakoORCiD, Professor Lyle Armstrong



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2018 The Authors Reproducibility in molecular and cellular studies is fundamental to scientific discovery. To establish the reproducibility of a well-defined long-term neuronal differentiation protocol, we repeated the cellular and molecular comparison of the same two iPSC lines across five distinct laboratories. Despite uncovering acceptable variability within individual laboratories, we detect poor cross-site reproducibility of the differential gene expression signature between these two lines. Factor analysis identifies the laboratory as the largest source of variation along with several variation-inflating confounders such as passaging effects and progenitor storage. Single-cell transcriptomics shows substantial cellular heterogeneity underlying inter-laboratory variability and being responsible for biases in differential gene expression inference. Factor analysis-based normalization of the combined dataset can remove the nuisance technical effects, enabling the execution of robust hypothesis-generating studies. Our study shows that multi-center collaborations can expose systematic biases and identify critical factors to be standardized when publishing novel protocols, contributing to increased cross-site reproducibility. In this article, Lakics and colleagues show that, while individual laboratories are able to identify consistent molecular and seemingly statistically robust differences between iPSC neuronal models, cross-site reproducibility is poor. Their findings support multi-center collaborations to expose systematic biases and identify critical factors to be standardized to improve reproducibility in iPSC-based molecular experiments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Volpato V, Smith J, Sandor C, Ried JS, Baud A, Handel A, Newey SE, Wessely F, Attar M, Whiteley E, Chintawar S, Verheyen A, Barta T, Lako M, Armstrong L, Muschet C, Artati A, Cusulin C, Christensen K, Patsch C, Sharma E, Nicod J, Brownjohn P, Stubbs V, Heywood WE, Gissen P, De Filippis R, Janssen K, Reinhardt P, Adamski J, Royaux I, Peeters PJ, Terstappen GC, Graf M, Livesey FJ, Akerman CJ, Mills K, Bowden R, Nicholson G, Webber C, Cader MZ, Lakics V

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cell Reports

Year: 2018

Volume: 11

Issue: 4

Pages: 897-911

Print publication date: 09/10/2018

Online publication date: 20/09/2018

Acceptance date: 21/08/2018

Date deposited: 29/10/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2213-6711

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.08.013

PubMed id: 30245212


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Funder referenceFunder name
NIHR (Oxford BRC)