scHiCTools: a computational toolbox for analyzing single-cell Hi-C data


Single-cell Hi-C (scHi-C) sequencing technologies allow us to investigate three-dimensional chromatin organization at the single-cell level. However, we still need computational tools to deal with the sparsity of the contact maps from single cells and embed single cells in a lower-dimensional Euclidean space. This embedding helps us understand relationships between the cells in different dimensions such as cell-cycle dynamics and cell differentiation. Here, we present an open-source computational toolbox, scHiCTools, for analyzing single cell Hi-C data. The toolbox takes singlecell Hi-C data files as input, and projects single cells in a lower-dimensional Euclidean space. The toolbox includes three commonly used methods for smoothing scHi-C data (linear convolution, random walk, and network enhancing), three projection methods for embedding single cells (fastHiCRep, Selfish, and InnerProduct), three clustering methods for clustering cells (k-means, spectral clustering, and HiCluster) and a build-in function to visualize the cells embedding in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional plot. We benchmark the embedding performance and run time of these methods on a number of scHi-C datasets, and provide some suggestions for practice use. scHiCTools, based on Python3, can run on different platforms, including Linux, macOS, and Windows. Our software package is available at

PLOS Computational Biology
Xinjun Li
Master student
Hongxi Pu