Mysterious Bats

Bat immunology remains mysterious. Many zoonoses originate from wildlife and several emerging, high-impact viruses are bat-borne. Despite harboring lethal viruses little is known about the bat immune system.

Scientists at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg have applied their advanced sequencing technologies to decompose Rousettus aegyptiacus blood cells one-by-one. They performed single-cell sequencing using RNA molecules as a fingerprint of cellular identities of bat blood. Through a multistep scRNA-seq approach, the biggest map so far of bat cells was created.

The findings complement evidences for disease tolerance in bats and advance the search for new antiviral agents.


Image credit (sketch of a bat): Adobe Stock/toricheks (edited by HIRI)



3D Animation

Simplified 3D representation (UMAP) of Rousettus aegyptiacus blood immune cells, at the single-cell resolution. Each single cell is represented by a sphere. Cells with similar RNA profiles tend to be close together in this representation and share similar cell identities (colors). RGL model © HIRI / Christophe Toussaint

More about this study


Original Publication

Landscape and age dynamics of immune cells in the Egyptian Rousette Bat

Friedrichs V, Toussaint C, Schäfer A, Rissmann M, Dietrich O, Mettenleiter TC, Pei G, Balkema-Buschmann A, Saliba AE, Dorhoi A (2022)

Cell Reports


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