Cell Type Properties and Attributes

ICTAC proposes the designation of Reference Cell Types (RCT) based on Clusters. Additional attributes will further describe the cell type and distinguish cell types within a RCT cluster.

Core Properties of an RCT


Physiological System

Cells have some specific function and act as system components

Source Age (Time)

The developmental time dimension in which cell's exist.


key marker expression / absence of expression in the cell

Additional Attributes of an RCT

Function (including potency)

describes a cell type specific physiological characteristic based on experimental measurements


histological cell and subcellular shapes, structures and features based on imaging

Development Origin

germ layer or precursor origin of a cell

Omics Data

New technologies including single-cell analysis produce many types of omics data. The data may identify previously unknown cell states. To assign these to an existing RCT or new RCT, it is quite important to aquire attributes.

Environmental Conditions

under which the cell data were obtained; this will include in vitro cultivation of in vivo conditions such as disease