A new tracking and quantification software for single cells
Time-lapse microscopy movies, which consist of many individual images, allow an approximately continuous observation of individual cells. But the recording and analysis of these movies is not trivial. On the one hand, it is necessary to take enough images in order not to lose track of the cells, while on the other hand, this results in enormous data quantities, in some cases with millions of images.
To make this emerging big data utilizable scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), together with colleagues from the ETH Zürich, have developed a software that allows observing cells for weeks while also measuring molecular properties.
Prof. Fabian Theis, who led the study together with Prof. Timm Schroeder, explained: "We put together two separate packages: a manual tracking tool and a semi-automatic quantification tool for individual cell analyses in time-lapse microscopy movies. The two together allow measurements of properties such as the length of the cell cycle, the expression dynamics of certain proteins, and correlations of these properties between sister cells."
The software is freely available online at www.bsse.ethz.ch/csd/software/ttt-and-qtfy.html.
O. Hilsenbeck, M. Schwarzfischer, S. Skylaki, B. Schauberger, P. S. Hoppe, D. Loeffler, K. D. Kokkaliaris, S. Hastreiter, E. Skylaki, A. Filipczyk, M. Strasser, F. Buggenthin, J. S. Feigelman, J. Krumsiek, A. J. J. van den Berg, M. Endele, M. Etzrodt, C. Marr, F. J. Theis, T. Schroeder, A software for single-cell quantification of cellular and molecular dynamics in long-term time-lapse microscopy, Nat. Biotechnol. 34, 703–706 (2016) – DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3626