scMultiGAN: cell-specific imputation for single-cell transcriptomes with multiple deep generative adversarial networks

Author(s): Wang, T; Zhao, H; Xu, Y; Wang, Y; Shang, X; Peng, J; Xiao, B;
Year: 2023;  
Journal: Briefings in Bioinformatics;  
Volume: 24;  
Issue: 6;  

The emergence of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology has revolutionized the identification of cell types and the study of cellular states at a single-cell level. Despite its significant potential, scRNA-seq data analysis is plagued by the issue of missing values. Many existing imputation methods rely on simplistic data distribution assumptions while ignoring the intrinsic gene expression distribution specific to cells. This work presents a novel deep-learning model, named scMultiGAN, for scRNA-seq imputation, which utilizes multiple collaborative generative adversarial networks (GAN). Unlike traditional GAN-based imputation methods that generate missing values based on random noises, scMultiGAN employs a two-stage training process and utilizes multiple GANs to achieve cell-specific imputation. Experimental results show the efficacy of scMultiGAN in imputation accuracy, cell clustering, differential gene expression analysis and trajectory analysis, significantly outperforming existing state-of-the-art techniques. Additionally, scMultiGAN is scalable to large scRNA-seq datasets and consistently performs well across sequencing platforms. The scMultiGAN code is freely available at