The iRoCS Toolbox -- 3D analysis of the plant root apical meristem at cellular resolution.

To achieve a detailed understanding of processes in biological systems, cellular features must be quantified in the three-dimensional (3D) context of cells and organs. We described use of the intrinsic root coordinate system (iRoCS) as a reference model for the root apical meristem of plants. iRoCS enables direct and quantitative comparison between the root tips of plant populations at single-cell resolution. The iRoCS Toolbox automatically fits standardized coordinates to raw 3D image data. It detects nuclei or segments cells, automatically fits the coordinate system, and groups the nuclei/cells into the root's tissue layers. The division status of each nucleus may also be determined. The only manual step required is to mark the quiescent centre. All intermediate outputs may be refined if necessary. The ability to learn the visual appearance of nuclei by example allows the iRoCS Toolbox to be easily adapted to various phenotypes. The iRoCS Toolbox is provided as an open-source software package, licensed under the GNU General Public License, to make it accessible to a broad community. To demonstrate the power of the technique, we measured subtle changes in cell division patterns caused by modified auxin flux within the Arabidopsis thaliana root apical meristem.

Plant J., 2014, 77(5):806-14.

DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12429

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Variational attenuation correction in two-view confocal microscopy.

BACKGROUND: Absorption and refraction induced signal attenuation can seriously hinder the extraction of quantitative information from confocal microscopic data. This signal attenuation can be estimated and corrected by algorithms that use physical image formation models. Especially in thick heterogeneous samples, current single view based models are unable to solve the underdetermined problem of estimating the attenuation-free intensities.

RESULTS: We present a variational approach to estimate both, the real intensities and the spatially variant attenuation from two views of the same sample from opposite sides. Assuming noise-free measurements throughout the whole volume and pure absorption, this would in theory allow a perfect reconstruction without further assumptions. To cope with real world data, our approach respects photon noise, estimates apparent bleaching between the two recordings, and constrains the attenuation field to be smooth and sparse to avoid spurious attenuation estimates in regions lacking valid measurements.

CONCLUSIONS: We quantify the reconstruction quality on simulated data and compare it to the state-of-the art two-view approach and commonly used one-factor-per-slice approaches like the exponential decay model. Additionally we show its real-world applicability on model organisms from zoology (zebrafish) and botany (Arabidopsis). The results from these experiments show that the proposed approach improves the quantification of confocal microscopic data of thick specimen.

BMC Bioinformatics, 2013, 14:366.

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-14-366

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