Several techniques are currently being developed for spatially resolved omics profiling, but each new method requires the setup of specific detection strategies or specialized instrumentation. Here we describe an imaging-free framework to localize high-throughput readouts within a tissue by cutting the sample into thin strips in a way that allows subsequent image reconstruction. We implemented this framework to transform a low-input RNA sequencing protocol into an imaging-free spatial transcriptomics technique (called STRP-seq) and validated it by profiling the spatial transcriptome of the mouse brain. We applied the technique to the brain of the Australian bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps. Our results reveal the molecular anatomy of the telencephalon of this lizard, providing evidence for a marked regionalization of the reptilian pallium and subpallium. We expect that STRP-seq can be used to derive spatially resolved data from a range of other omics techniques.
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We thank S. Linnarsson (Karolinska Insitutet) for allowing proof-of-principle tests in his laboratory; N. Shental, B. Shalem (Open University Israel) and A. Zeisel (Technion) for stimulating discussions; M. Schuelke (Charité) for enabling the participation of C.G.S. in this project; G. Laurent for discussion and providing samples; M. Weigert and L. Talamanca for discussing our formulation; A. Jacobi for contributing lizard in situ hybridizations; and P. Gönczy, B. Deplanke and F. Naef for constructive criticism of the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (CRSK-3_190495) to G.L.M. G.L.M. was also supported by CZI seed network grant HCA3-0000000081 and Swiss National Science Foundation grant PZ00P3_193445.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Biotechnology thanks Mor Nitzan, Dominic Grun, and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Schede, H.H., Schneider, C.G., Stergiadou, J. et al. Spatial tissue profiling by imaging-free molecular tomography. Nat Biotechnol 39, 968–977 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00879-7
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