Computer assisted analysis of microtubule dynamics in living cells
Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
Microtubules are dynamic polymers that rapidly transition between states of growth, shortening, and pause. These dynamic events are critical for basic cellular processes, especially cell division. Typically, these events are quantified by imaging microtubule movements over time, which results in large data sets that require rigorous quantitative analysis. In most cases, these analyses are performed manually by the researcher. This process is both tedious and prone to error; thus an efficient and reliable computer-assisted quantification system would provide a rapid approach, suitable for high-throughput data analysis. In this paper, we describe methods to automatically segment and track microtubule movements. Our method is a snake based method . Instead of a closed contour, we use an open contour to track individual microtubule. We redefine some of the internal energy terms specifically for open snake. A new external energy term for locating the end points of a microtubule is also defined. Testing is done using simulated images and untreated MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines as well as cells treated with the microtubule-targeting chemotherapeutic agent, Taxol.