ScTraingulate: A Game-theory based Framework for Optimal Solutions of Multimodal Single-cell Data


Hundreds of bioinformatics approaches now exist to define cellular heterogeneity from singlecell genomics data. Reconciling conflicts between diverse methods, algorithm settings, annotations or modalities have the potential to clarify which populations are real and establish reusable reference atlases. Here, we present a customizable computational strategy called scTrianguate, which leverages cooperative game theory to intelligently mix-and-match clustering solutions from different resolutions, algorithms, reference atlases, or multi-modal measurements. This algorithm relies on a series of robust statistical metrics for cluster stability that work across molecular modalities to identify high-confidence integrated annotations. When applied to annotations from diverse competing cell atlas projects, this approach is able to resolve conflicts and determine the validity of controversial cell population predictions. Tested with scRNA-Seq, CITE-Seq (RNA + surface ADT), multiome (RNA + ATAC), and TEA-Seq (RNA + surface ADT + ATAC), this approach identifies highly stable and reproducible, known and novel cell populations, while excluding clusters defined by technical artifacts (i.e., doublets). Importantly, we find that distinct cell populations are frequently attributed with features from different modalities (RNA, ATAC, ADT) in the same assay, highlighting the importance of multimodal analysis in cluster determination. As it is flexible, this approach can be updated with new user-defined statistical metrics to alter the decision engine and customized to new measures of stability for different measures of cellular activity.

scTriangulate reconciles conflicts between diverse modalities


G. Li, B. Song, H. L. Grimes, H. Singh, V. B. S. Prasath, N. Salomonis. scTriangulate, a game-theory based framework for optimal solutions of multimodal single-cell data. Nature Communications, 2022. In Revision.

Biorxiv, October 2021. doi:10.1101/2021.10.16.464640. Code, PyPI.