FEAST: FEAture SelecTion for scRNA-seq clustering

FEAST is a framework designed for ranking features and selecting an optimized feature set as an input for scRNA-seq clustering. FEAST pipeline includes three steps: (A). perform initial clusterings. (B). estimate feature significance. (C). validate of the feature sets. Please find the detailed reference by vignette("FEAST"). All the copyrights are explained by Kenong Su from Dr. Wu's lab. Any FEAST-related questions should be posted to the GitHub Issue section at

This tutorial introduces the basic functionalities of FEAST. Please use the vignette("FEAST") to review more detailed package vignette. It is worth noting that one might need pre-install dependent R packages such as SingleCellExperiment, SummarizedExperiment, doParallel, SC3, and mclust.

1. Software Installation

install_github("suke18/FEAST", dependencies=T, build_vignettes = T)

2. Quick Start

The pipeline can be accessed by a wrapped-up function FEAST. Here, we show an example by using Deng dataset, which can be found at

Deng # load the Deng dataset, which includes 6 cell types (268 cells).
trueclass = colData(Deng)$cellTypes
k = length(unique(trueclass))
Y = assays(Deng)$counts

The gene ranks can be obtained from the following step. Y is the count matrix (by default) or processed normalized matrix. Note, genes with extreme high dropout rates need to be removed. k is the number of clusters. It will return the gene index ranked from the most significant to the least significant.

Y = process_Y(Y, thre = 2)
ixs = FEAST(Y, k=k) # This is the main step.
# look at the top features
Ynorm = Norm_Y(Y)
par(mfrow = c(3,3))
for (i in 1:9){
  tmp_ix = ixs[i]
  tmp_gene = rownames(Ynorm)[tmp_ix]
  boxplot(as.numeric(Ynorm[tmp_ix, ])~trueclass, main = tmp_gene, xlab="", ylab="", las=2)

The boxplot of the top 9 features are listed here:

3. Example in Deng Dataset step-by-step

(1). Consensus clustering

con_res = Consensus(Y, k=k)

(2). Rank Features

F_res = cal_F2(Y, con_res$cluster)
ixs = order(F_res$F_scores, decreasing = T) # order the features

(3). Perform the clustering

sc3_ori = SC3_Clust(Y, k=k)
top = 1000 # try the top 1000 features
markers = rownames(Y)[ixs][1:top]
sc3_res = SC3_Clust(Y, k=k, input_markers = markers)

(4). Evaluate the clustering result

eval_Cluster(sc3_ori$cluster, trueclass)
eval_Cluster(sc3_res$cluster, trueclass)

The illustration of the clustering results in a lower dimension space (PCA) are listed as following. The PCA is performed by using the top 2000 genes (selected by CV). It shows that when specifying the featured genes by FEAST and incorporating with SC3, the clustering result becomes more accurate.

4. Use the validation function.

Here, we use the SC3 for clustering. Users can adopt their favorite scRNA-seq clustering method for the validation procedure.

mod_res = Select_Model_short_SC3(Y, cluster = con_res$cluster, top = c(200, 500, 1000, 2000))
Visual_Rslt(model_cv_res = mod_res, trueclass = trueclass)

5. Performance on other datasets

Here, we show the performance for Yan and Goolam datasets.

Yan Dataset | Goolam Ocean :-------------------------:|:-------------------------: |

6. Fast version of FEAST

We also implement FEAST in a fast version for calculating gene-level significance. Here, we use Zheng dataset for demonstration. The most time-consuming part is the final consensus clustering on the n*n consensus matrix (n denotes the sample size). We change to the kmeans/hclust/pam for the final clustering step. Alternatively, we can opt to the subsampling approach.

trueclass = Zheng$cellTypes
k = length(unique(trueclass))
Y = assay(Zheng, "counts")
Y = process_Y(Y)
ixs1  = FEAST_fast(Y, k=k)
ixs2  = FEAST(Y, k=k, split = T, batch_size = 1000)

If we look at the top features from ixs1 or ixs2 rankings, we can see the they are very informative.

Ynorm = Norm_Y(Y)
par(mfrow = c(4,4))
for (i in 1:16){
  tmp_ix = ixs1[i]
  #tmp_ix = ixs2[i]
  tmp_gene = rownames(Ynorm)[tmp_ix]
  boxplot(as.numeric(Ynorm[tmp_ix, ])~trueclass, main = tmp_gene, xlab="", ylab="", las=2)

From ix1 | From ix2 :-------------------------:|:-------------------------: |

suke18/FEAST documentation built on Sept. 14, 2021, 12:22 a.m.