The living microarray: a high-throughput platform for measuring transcription dynamics in single cells.
ABSTRACT: Current methods of measuring transcription in high-throughput have led to significant improvements in our knowledge of transcriptional regulation and Systems Biology. However, endpoint measurements obtained from methods that pool populations of cells are not amenable to studying time-dependent processes that show cell heterogeneity.Here we describe a high-throughput platform for measuring transcriptional changes in real time in single mammalian cells. By using reverse transfection microarrays we are able to transfect fluorescent reporter plasmids into 600 independent clusters of cells plated on a single microscope slide and image these clusters every 20 minutes. We use a fast-maturing, destabilized and nuclear-localized reporter that is suitable for automated segmentation to accurately measure promoter activity in single cells. We tested this platform with synthetic drug-inducible promoters that showed robust induction over 24 hours. Automated segmentation and tracking of over 11 million cell images during this period revealed that cells display substantial heterogeneity in their responses to the applied treatment, including a large proportion of transfected cells that do not respond at all.The results from our single-cell analysis suggest that methods that measure average cellular responses, such as DNA microarrays, RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation, characterize a response skewed by a subset of cells in the population. Our method is scalable and readily adaptable to studying complex systems, including cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis.
Project description:The ability to automatically detect and classify populations of cells in tissue sections is paramount in a wide variety of applications ranging from developmental biology to pathology. Although deep learning algorithms are widely applied to microscopy data, they typically focus on segmentation which requires extensive training and labor-intensive annotation. Here, we utilized object detection networks (neural networks) to detect and classify targets in complex microscopy images, while simplifying data annotation. To this end, we used a RetinaNet model to classify genetically labeled neurons and glia in the brains of Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM) mice. Our initial RetinaNet-based model achieved an average precision of 0.90 across six classes of cells differentiated by MADM reporter expression and their phenotype (neuron or glia). However, we found that a single RetinaNet model often failed when encountering dense and saturated glial clusters, which show high variability in their shape and fluorophore densities compared to neurons. To overcome this, we introduced a second RetinaNet model dedicated to the detection of glia clusters. Merging the predictions of the two computational models significantly improved the automated cell counting of glial clusters. The proposed cell detection workflow will be instrumental in quantitative analysis of the spatial organization of cellular populations, which is applicable not only to preparations in neuroscience studies, but also to any tissue preparation containing labeled populations of cells.
Project description:Plasma cell segmentation is the first stage of a computer assisted automated diagnostic tool for multiple myeloma (MM). Owing to large variability in biological cell types, a method for one cell type cannot be applied directly on the other cell types. In this paper, we present PCSeg Tool for plasma cell segmentation from microscopic medical images. These images were captured from bone marrow aspirate slides of patients with MM. PCSeg has a robust pipeline consisting of a pre-processing step, the proposed modified multiphase level set method followed by post-processing steps including the watershed and circular Hough transform to segment clusters of cells of interest and to remove unwanted cells. Our modified level set method utilizes prior information about the probability densities of regions of interest (ROIs) in the color spaces and provides a solution to the minimal-partition problem to segment ROIs in one of the level sets of a two-phase level set formulation. PCSeg tool is tested on a number of microscopic images and provides good segmentation results on single cells as well as efficient segmentation of plasma cell clusters.
Project description:Measuring spore size is a standard method for the description of fungal taxa, but in manual microscopic analyses the number of spores that can be measured and information on their morphological traits are typically limited. To overcome this weakness we present a method to analyze the size and shape of large numbers of spherical bodies, such as spores or pollen, by using inexpensive equipment. A spore suspension mounted on a slide is treated with a low-cost, high-vibration device to distribute spores uniformly in a single layer without overlap. Subsequently, 10,000 to 50,000 objects per slide are measured by automated image analysis. The workflow involves (1) slide preparation, (2) automated image acquisition by light microscopy, (3) filtering to separate high-density clusters, (4) image segmentation by applying a machine learning software, Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis (WEKA), and (5) statistical evaluation of the results. The technique produced consistent results and compared favorably with manual measurements in terms of precision. Moreover, measuring spore size distribution yields information not obtained by manual microscopic analyses, as shown for the myxomycete Physarum albescens. The exact size distribution of spores revealed irregularities in spore formation resulting from the influence of environmental conditions on spore maturation. A comparison of the spore size distribution within and between sporocarp colonies showed large environmental and likely genetic variation. In addition, the comparison identified specimens with spores roughly twice the normal size. The successful implementation of the presented method for analyzing myxomycete spores also suggests potential for other applications.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Recently, the analysis of endolymphatic hydropses (EHs) via inner ear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for patients with Ménière disease has been attempted in various studies. In addition, artificial intelligence has rapidly been incorporated into the medical field. In our previous studies, an automated algorithm for EH analysis was developed by using a convolutional neural network. However, several limitations existed, and further studies were conducted to compensate for these limitations.<h4>Objective</h4>The aim of this study is to develop a fully automated analytic system for measuring EH ratios that enhances EH analysis accuracy and clinical usability when studying Ménière disease via MRI.<h4>Methods</h4>We proposed the 3into3Inception and 3intoUNet networks. Their network architectures were based on those of the Inception-v3 and U-Net networks, respectively. The developed networks were trained for inner ear segmentation by using the magnetic resonance images of 124 people and were embedded in a new, automated EH analysis system-inner-ear hydrops estimation via artificial intelligence (INHEARIT)-version 2 (INHEARIT-v2). After fivefold cross-validation, an additional test was performed by using 60 new, unseen magnetic resonance images to evaluate the performance of our system. The INHEARIT-v2 system has a new function that automatically selects representative images from a full MRI stack.<h4>Results</h4>The average segmentation performance of the fivefold cross-validation was measured via the intersection of union method, resulting in performance values of 0.743 (SD 0.030) for the 3into3Inception network and 0.811 (SD 0.032) for the 3intoUNet network. The representative magnetic resonance slices (ie, from a data set of unseen magnetic resonance images) that were automatically selected by the INHEARIT-v2 system only differed from a maximum of 2 expert-selected slices. After comparing the ratios calculated by experienced physicians and those calculated by the INHEARIT-v2 system, we found that the average intraclass correlation coefficient for all cases was 0.941; the average intraclass correlation coefficient of the vestibules was 0.968, and that of the cochleae was 0.914. The time required for the fully automated system to accurately analyze EH ratios based on a patient's MRI stack was approximately 3.5 seconds.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In this study, a fully automated full-stack magnetic resonance analysis system for measuring EH ratios was developed (named INHEARIT-v2), and the results showed that there was a high correlation between the expert-calculated EH ratio values and those calculated by the INHEARIT-v2 system. The system is an upgraded version of the INHEARIT system; it has higher segmentation performance and automatically selects representative images from an MRI stack. The new model can help clinicians by providing objective analysis results and reducing the workload for interpreting magnetic resonance images.
Project description:Automated segmentation of hippocampal (HC) subfields from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is gaining popularity, but automated procedures that afford high speed and reproducibility have yet to be extensively validated against the standard, manual morphometry. We evaluated the concurrent validity of an automated method for hippocampal subfields segmentation (automated segmentation of hippocampal subfields, ASHS; Yushkevich et al., ) using a customized atlas of the HC body, with manual morphometry as a standard. We built a series of customized atlases comprising the entorhinal cortex (ERC) and subfields of the HC body from manually segmented images, and evaluated the correspondence of automated segmentations with manual morphometry. In samples with age ranges of 6-24 and 62-79 years, 20 participants each, we obtained validity coefficients (intraclass correlations, ICC) and spatial overlap measures (dice similarity coefficient) that varied substantially across subfields. Anterior and posterior HC body evidenced the greatest discrepancies between automated and manual segmentations. Adding anterior and posterior slices for atlas creation and truncating automated output to the ranges manually defined by multiple neuroanatomical landmarks substantially improved the validity of automated segmentation, yielding ICC above 0.90 for all subfields and alleviating systematic bias. We cross-validated the developed atlas on an independent sample of 30 healthy adults (age 31-84) and obtained good to excellent agreement: ICC (2) = 0.70-0.92. Thus, with described customization steps implemented by experts trained in MRI neuroanatomy, ASHS shows excellent concurrent validity, and can become a promising method for studying age-related changes in HC subfield volumes.
Project description:Cell-based microarrays are being increasingly used as a tool for combinatorial and high throughput screening of cellular microenvironments. Analysis of microarrays requires several steps, including microarray imaging, identification of cell spots, quality control, and data exploration. While high content image analysis, cell counting, and cell pattern recognition methods are established, there is a need for new postprocessing and quality control methods for cell-based microarrays used to investigate combinatorial microenvironments. Previously, microarrayed cell spot identification and quality control were performed manually, leading to excessive processing time and potentially resulting in human bias. This work introduces an automated approach to identify cell-based microarray spots and spot quality control. The approach was used to analyze the adhesion of murine cardiac side population cells on combinatorial arrays of extracellular matrix proteins. Microarrays were imaged by automated fluorescence microscopy and cells were identified using open-source image analysis software (CellProfiler). From these images, clusters of cells making up single cell spots were reliably identified by analyzing the distances between cells using a density-based clustering algorithm (OPTICS). Naïve Bayesian classifiers trained on manually scored training sets identified good and poor quality spots using spot size, number of cells per spot, and cell location as quality control criteria. Combined, the approach identified 78% of high quality spots and 87% of poor quality spots. Full factorial analysis of the resulting microarray data revealed that collagen IV exhibited the highest positive effect on cell attachment. This data processing approach allows for fast and unbiased analysis of cell-based microarray data.
Project description:The formation of reiterated somites along the vertebrate body axis is controlled by the segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator expressed within presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells. Although PSM cells oscillate autonomously, they coordinate with neighboring cells to generate a sweeping wave of cyclic gene expression through the PSM that has a periodicity equal to that of somite formation. The velocity of each wave slows as it moves anteriorly through the PSM, although the dynamics of clock slowing have not been well characterized. Here, we investigate segmentation clock dynamics in the anterior PSM in developing zebrafish embryos using an in vivo clock reporter, her1:her1-venus. The her1:her1-venus reporter has single-cell resolution, allowing us to follow segmentation clock oscillations in individual cells in real-time. By retrospectively tracking oscillations of future somite boundary cells, we find that clock reporter signal increases in anterior PSM cells and that the periodicity of reporter oscillations slows to about ∼1.5 times the periodicity in posterior PSM cells. This gradual slowing of the clock in the anterior PSM creates peaks of clock expression that are separated at a two-segment periodicity both spatially and temporally, a phenomenon we observe in single cells and in tissue-wide analyses. These results differ from previous predictions that clock oscillations stop or are stabilized in the anterior PSM. Instead, PSM cells oscillate until they incorporate into somites. Our findings suggest that the segmentation clock may signal somite formation using a phase gradient with a two-somite periodicity.
Project description:Live cell time-lapse microscopy, a widely-used technique to study gene expression and protein dynamics in single cells, relies on segmentation and tracking of individual cells for data generation. The potential of the data that can be extracted from this technique is limited by the inability to accurately segment a large number of cells from such microscopy images and track them over long periods of time. Existing segmentation and tracking algorithms either require additional dyes or markers specific to segmentation or they are highly specific to one imaging condition and cell morphology and/or necessitate manual correction. Here we introduce a fully automated, fast and robust segmentation and tracking algorithm for budding yeast that overcomes these limitations. Full automatization is achieved through a novel automated seeding method, which first generates coarse seeds, then automatically fine-tunes cell boundaries using these seeds and automatically corrects segmentation mistakes. Our algorithm can accurately segment and track individual yeast cells without any specific dye or biomarker. Moreover, we show how existing channels devoted to a biological process of interest can be used to improve the segmentation. The algorithm is versatile in that it accurately segments not only cycling cells with smooth elliptical shapes, but also cells with arbitrary morphologies (e.g. sporulating and pheromone treated cells). In addition, the algorithm is independent of the specific imaging method (bright-field/phase) and objective used (40X/63X/100X). We validate our algorithm's performance on 9 cases each entailing a different imaging condition, objective magnification and/or cell morphology. Taken together, our algorithm presents a powerful segmentation and tracking tool that can be adapted to numerous budding yeast single-cell studies.
Project description:We have developed spotted cell microarrays for measuring cellular phenotypes on a large scale. Collections of cells are printed, stained for subcellular features, then imaged via automated, high-throughput microscopy, allowing systematic phenotypic characterization. We used this technology to identify genes involved in the response of yeast to mating pheromone. Besides morphology assays, cell microarrays should be valuable for high-throughput in situ hybridization and immunoassays, enabling new classes of genetic assays based on cell imaging.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>Cone photoreceptor cells can be noninvasively imaged in the living human eye by using nonconfocal adaptive optics scanning ophthalmoscopy split detection. Existing metrics, such as cone density and spacing, are based on simplifying cone photoreceptors to single points. The purposes of this study were to introduce a computer-aided approach for segmentation of cone photoreceptors, to apply this technique to create a normal database of cone diameters, and to demonstrate its use in the context of existing metrics.<h4>Methods</h4>Cone photoreceptor segmentation is achieved through a circularly constrained active contour model (CCACM). Circular templates and image gradients attract active contours toward cone photoreceptor boundaries. Automated segmentation from in vivo human subject data was compared to ground truth established by manual segmentation. Cone diameters computed from curated data (automated segmentation followed by manual removal of errors) were compared with histology and published data.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, there was good agreement between automated and manual segmentations and between diameter measurements (n = 5191 cones) and published histologic data across retinal eccentricities ranging from 1.35 to 6.35 mm (temporal). Interestingly, cone diameter was correlated to both cone density and cone spacing (negatively and positively, respectively; P < 0.01 for both). Application of the proposed automated segmentation to images from a patient with late-onset retinal degeneration revealed the presence of enlarged cones above individual reticular pseudodrusen (average 23.0% increase, P < 0.05).<h4>Conclusions</h4>CCACM can accurately segment cone photoreceptors on split detection images across a range of eccentricities. Metrics derived from this automated segmentation of adaptive optics retinal images can provide new insights into retinal diseases.