Cellular Pattern Quantication and Automatic Bench-marking Data-set Generation on confocal microscopy images
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The distribution, directionality and motility of the actin fibers control cell shape, affect cell function and are different in cancer versus normal cells. Quantification of actin structural changes is important for further understanding differences between cell types and for elucidation the effects and dynamics of drug interactions. We propose an image analysis framework to quantify the F-actin organization patterns in response to different pharmaceutical treatments.The main problems addressed include which features to quantify and what quantification measurements to compute when dealing with unlabeled confocal microscopy images. The resultant numerical features are very effective to profile the functional mechanism and facilitate the comparison of different drugs. The analysis software is originally implemented in Matlab and more recently the most time consuming part in the feature extraction stage is implemented onto the NVIDIA GPU using CUDA where we obtain 15 to 20 speedups for different sizes of image. We also propose a computational framework for generating synthetic images for validation purposes. The validation for the feature extraction is done by visual inspection and the validation for quantification is done by comparing them with well-known biological facts. Future studies will further validate the algorithms, and elucidate the molecular pathways and kinetics underlying the F-actin changes. This is the first study quantifying different structural formations of the same protein in intact cells. Since many anti-cancer drugs target the cytoskeleton, we believe that the quantitative image analysis method reported here will have broad applications to understanding the mechanisms of candidate pharmaceutical.