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1.  Unidirectional P-Body Transport during the Yeast Cell Cycle 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99428.
P-bodies belong to a large family of RNA granules that are associated with post-transcriptional gene regulation, conserved from yeast to mammals, and influence biological processes ranging from germ cell development to neuronal plasticity. RNA granules can also transport RNAs to specific locations. Germ granules transport maternal RNAs to the embryo, and neuronal granules transport RNAs long distances to the synaptic dendrites. Here we combine microfluidic-based fluorescent microscopy of single cells and automated image analysis to follow p-body dynamics during cell division in yeast. Our results demonstrate that these highly dynamic granules undergo a unidirectional transport from the mother to the daughter cell during mitosis as well as a constrained “hovering” near the bud site half an hour before the bud is observable. Both behaviors are dependent on the Myo4p/She2p RNA transport machinery. Furthermore, single cell analysis of cell size suggests that PBs play an important role in daughter cell growth under nutrient limiting conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099428
PMCID: PMC4053424  PMID: 24918601
2.  Quantitative analysis of colony morphology in yeast 
BioTechniques  2014;56(1):18-27.
Microorganisms often form multicellular structures such as biofilms and structured colonies that can influence the organism’s virulence, drug resistance, and adherence to medical devices. Phenotypic classification of these structures has traditionally relied on qualitative scoring systems that limit detailed phenotypic comparisons between strains. Automated imaging and quantitative analysis have the potential to improve the speed and accuracy of experiments designed to study the genetic and molecular networks underlying different morphological traits. For this reason, we have developed a platform that uses automated image analysis and pattern recognition to quantify phenotypic signatures of yeast colonies. Our strategy enables quantitative analysis of individual colonies, measured at a single time point or over a series of time-lapse images, as well as the classification of distinct colony shapes based on image-derived features. Phenotypic changes in colony morphology can be expressed as changes in feature space trajectories over time, thereby enabling the visualization and quantitative analysis of morphological development. To facilitate data exploration, results are plotted dynamically through an interactive Yeast Image Analysis web application (YIMAA; http://yimaa.cs.tut.fi) that integrates the raw and processed images across all time points, allowing exploration of the image-based features and principal components associated with morphological development.
doi:10.2144/000114123
PMCID: PMC3996921  PMID: 24447135
colony morphology; image analysis; software; yeast; phenotype; time-lapse
3.  Quantitative Analysis of Dynamic Association in Live Biological Fluorescent Samples 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94245.
Determining vesicle localization and association in live microscopy may be challenging due to non-simultaneous imaging of rapidly moving objects with two excitation channels. Besides errors due to movement of objects, imaging may also introduce shifting between the image channels, and traditional colocalization methods cannot handle such situations. Our approach to quantifying the association between tagged proteins is to use an object-based method where the exact match of object locations is not assumed. Point-pattern matching provides a measure of correspondence between two point-sets under various changes between the sets. Thus, it can be used for robust quantitative analysis of vesicle association between image channels. Results for a large set of synthetic images shows that the novel association method based on point-pattern matching demonstrates robust capability to detect association of closely located vesicles in live cell-microscopy where traditional colocalization methods fail to produce results. In addition, the method outperforms compared Iterated Closest Points registration method. Results for fixed and live experimental data shows the association method to perform comparably to traditional methods in colocalization studies for fixed cells and to perform favorably in association studies for live cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094245
PMCID: PMC3984138  PMID: 24728133
4.  Leukemia Prediction Using Sparse Logistic Regression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72932.
We describe a supervised prediction method for diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) from patient samples based on flow cytometry measurements. We use a data driven approach with machine learning methods to train a computational model that takes in flow cytometry measurements from a single patient and gives a confidence score of the patient being AML-positive. Our solution is based on an regularized logistic regression model that aggregates AML test statistics calculated from individual test tubes with different cell populations and fluorescent markers. The model construction is entirely data driven and no prior biological knowledge is used. The described solution scored a 100% classification accuracy in the DREAM6/FlowCAP2 Molecular Classification of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Challenge against a golden standard consisting of 20 AML-positive and 160 healthy patients. Here we perform a more extensive validation of the prediction model performance and further improve and simplify our original method showing that statistically equal results can be obtained by using simple average marker intensities as features in the logistic regression model. In addition to the logistic regression based model, we also present other classification models and compare their performance quantitatively. The key benefit in our prediction method compared to other solutions with similar performance is that our model only uses a small fraction of the flow cytometry measurements making our solution highly economical.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072932
PMCID: PMC3758279  PMID: 24023658
5.  Multi-scale Gaussian representation and outline-learning based cell image segmentation 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14(Suppl 10):S6.
Background
High-throughput genome-wide screening to study gene-specific functions, e.g. for drug discovery, demands fast automated image analysis methods to assist in unraveling the full potential of such studies. Image segmentation is typically at the forefront of such analysis as the performance of the subsequent steps, for example, cell classification, cell tracking etc., often relies on the results of segmentation.
Methods
We present a cell cytoplasm segmentation framework which first separates cell cytoplasm from image background using novel approach of image enhancement and coefficient of variation of multi-scale Gaussian scale-space representation. A novel outline-learning based classification method is developed using regularized logistic regression with embedded feature selection which classifies image pixels as outline/non-outline to give cytoplasm outlines. Refinement of the detected outlines to separate cells from each other is performed in a post-processing step where the nuclei segmentation is used as contextual information.
Results and conclusions
We evaluate the proposed segmentation methodology using two challenging test cases, presenting images with completely different characteristics, with cells of varying size, shape, texture and degrees of overlap. The feature selection and classification framework for outline detection produces very simple sparse models which use only a small subset of the large, generic feature set, that is, only 7 and 5 features for the two cases. Quantitative comparison of the results for the two test cases against state-of-the-art methods show that our methodology outperforms them with an increase of 4-9% in segmentation accuracy with maximum accuracy of 93%. Finally, the results obtained for diverse datasets demonstrate that our framework not only produces accurate segmentation but also generalizes well to different segmentation tasks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S10-S6
PMCID: PMC3750482  PMID: 24267488
6.  Probabilistic analysis of gene expression measurements from heterogeneous tissues 
Bioinformatics  2010;26(20):2571-2577.
Motivation: Tissue heterogeneity, arising from multiple cell types, is a major confounding factor in experiments that focus on studying cell types, e.g. their expression profiles, in isolation. Although sample heterogeneity can be addressed by manual microdissection, prior to conducting experiments, computational treatment on heterogeneous measurements have become a reliable alternative to perform this microdissection in silico. Favoring computation over manual purification has its advantages, such as time consumption, measuring responses of multiple cell types simultaneously, keeping samples intact of external perturbations and unaltered yield of molecular content.
Results: We formalize a probabilistic model, DSection, and show with simulations as well as with real microarray data that DSection attains increased modeling accuracy in terms of (i) estimating cell-type proportions of heterogeneous tissue samples, (ii) estimating replication variance and (iii) identifying differential expression across cell types under various experimental conditions. As our reference we use the corresponding linear regression model, which mirrors the performance of the majority of current non-probabilistic modeling approaches.
Availability and Software: All codes are written in Matlab, and are freely available upon request as well as at the project web page http://www.cs.tut.fi/∼erkkila2/. Furthermore, a web-application for DSection exists at http://informatics.systemsbiology.net/DSection.
Contact: timo.p.erkkila@tut.fi; harri.lahdesmaki@tut.fi
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq406
PMCID: PMC2951082  PMID: 20631160
7.  Reconstruction and Validation of RefRec: A Global Model for the Yeast Molecular Interaction Network 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10662.
Molecular interaction networks establish all cell biological processes. The networks are under intensive research that is facilitated by new high-throughput measurement techniques for the detection, quantification, and characterization of molecules and their physical interactions. For the common model organism yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, public databases store a significant part of the accumulated information and, on the way to better understanding of the cellular processes, there is a need to integrate this information into a consistent reconstruction of the molecular interaction network. This work presents and validates RefRec, the most comprehensive molecular interaction network reconstruction currently available for yeast. The reconstruction integrates protein synthesis pathways, a metabolic network, and a protein-protein interaction network from major biological databases. The core of the reconstruction is based on a reference object approach in which genes, transcripts, and proteins are identified using their primary sequences. This enables their unambiguous identification and non-redundant integration. The obtained total number of different molecular species and their connecting interactions is ∼67,000. In order to demonstrate the capacity of RefRec for functional predictions, it was used for simulating the gene knockout damage propagation in the molecular interaction network in ∼590,000 experimentally validated mutant strains. Based on the simulation results, a statistical classifier was subsequently able to correctly predict the viability of most of the strains. The results also showed that the usage of different types of molecular species in the reconstruction is important for accurate phenotype prediction. In general, the findings demonstrate the benefits of global reconstructions of molecular interaction networks. With all the molecular species and their physical interactions explicitly modeled, our reconstruction is able to serve as a valuable resource in additional analyses involving objects from multiple molecular -omes. For that purpose, RefRec is freely available in the Systems Biology Markup Language format.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010662
PMCID: PMC2871048  PMID: 20498836
8.  Evaluation of methods for detection of fluorescence labeled subcellular objects in microscope images 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:248.
Background
Several algorithms have been proposed for detecting fluorescently labeled subcellular objects in microscope images. Many of these algorithms have been designed for specific tasks and validated with limited image data. But despite the potential of using extensive comparisons between algorithms to provide useful information to guide method selection and thus more accurate results, relatively few studies have been performed.
Results
To better understand algorithm performance under different conditions, we have carried out a comparative study including eleven spot detection or segmentation algorithms from various application fields. We used microscope images from well plate experiments with a human osteosarcoma cell line and frames from image stacks of yeast cells in different focal planes. These experimentally derived images permit a comparison of method performance in realistic situations where the number of objects varies within image set. We also used simulated microscope images in order to compare the methods and validate them against a ground truth reference result. Our study finds major differences in the performance of different algorithms, in terms of both object counts and segmentation accuracies.
Conclusions
These results suggest that the selection of detection algorithms for image based screens should be done carefully and take into account different conditions, such as the possibility of acquiring empty images or images with very few spots. Our inclusion of methods that have not been used before in this context broadens the set of available detection methods and compares them against the current state-of-the-art methods for subcellular particle detection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-248
PMCID: PMC3098061  PMID: 20465797
9.  Bright Field Microscopy as an Alternative to Whole Cell Fluorescence in Automated Analysis of Macrophage Images 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(10):e7497.
Background
Fluorescence microscopy is the standard tool for detection and analysis of cellular phenomena. This technique, however, has a number of drawbacks such as the limited number of available fluorescent channels in microscopes, overlapping excitation and emission spectra of the stains, and phototoxicity.
Methodology
We here present and validate a method to automatically detect cell population outlines directly from bright field images. By imaging samples with several focus levels forming a bright field -stack, and by measuring the intensity variations of this stack over the -dimension, we construct a new two dimensional projection image of increased contrast. With additional information for locations of each cell, such as stained nuclei, this bright field projection image can be used instead of whole cell fluorescence to locate borders of individual cells, separating touching cells, and enabling single cell analysis. Using the popular CellProfiler freeware cell image analysis software mainly targeted for fluorescence microscopy, we validate our method by automatically segmenting low contrast and rather complex shaped murine macrophage cells.
Significance
The proposed approach frees up a fluorescence channel, which can be used for subcellular studies. It also facilitates cell shape measurement in experiments where whole cell fluorescent staining is either not available, or is dependent on a particular experimental condition. We show that whole cell area detection results using our projected bright field images match closely to the standard approach where cell areas are localized using fluorescence, and conclude that the high contrast bright field projection image can directly replace one fluorescent channel in whole cell quantification. Matlab code for calculating the projections can be downloaded from the supplementary site: http://sites.google.com/site/brightfieldorstaining
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007497
PMCID: PMC2760782  PMID: 19847301
10.  Computational Methods for Estimation of Cell Cycle Phase Distributions of Yeast Cells 
Two computational methods for estimating the cell cycle phase distribution of a budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cell population are presented. The first one is a nonparametric method that is based on the analysis of DNA content in the individual cells of the population. The DNA content is measured with a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS). The second method is based on budding index analysis. An automated image analysis method is presented for the task of detecting the cells and buds. The proposed methods can be used to obtain quantitative information on the cell cycle phase distribution of a budding yeast S. cerevisiae population. They therefore provide a solid basis for obtaining the complementary information needed in deconvolution of gene expression data. As a case study, both methods are tested with data that were obtained in a time series experiment with S. cerevisiae. The details of the time series experiment as well as the image and FACS data obtained in the experiment can be found in the online additional material at http://www.cs.tut.fi/sgn/csb/yeastdistrib/.
doi:10.1155/2007/46150
PMCID: PMC3171340  PMID: 18354733
11.  Simulation of microarray data with realistic characteristics 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:349.
Background
Microarray technologies have become common tools in biological research. As a result, a need for effective computational methods for data analysis has emerged. Numerous different algorithms have been proposed for analyzing the data. However, an objective evaluation of the proposed algorithms is not possible due to the lack of biological ground truth information. To overcome this fundamental problem, the use of simulated microarray data for algorithm validation has been proposed.
Results
We present a microarray simulation model which can be used to validate different kinds of data analysis algorithms. The proposed model is unique in the sense that it includes all the steps that affect the quality of real microarray data. These steps include the simulation of biological ground truth data, applying biological and measurement technology specific error models, and finally simulating the microarray slide manufacturing and hybridization. After all these steps are taken into account, the simulated data has realistic biological and statistical characteristics. The applicability of the proposed model is demonstrated by several examples.
Conclusion
The proposed microarray simulation model is modular and can be used in different kinds of applications. It includes several error models that have been proposed earlier and it can be used with different types of input data. The model can be used to simulate both spotted two-channel and oligonucleotide based single-channel microarrays. All this makes the model a valuable tool for example in validation of data analysis algorithms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-349
PMCID: PMC1574357  PMID: 16848902

Results 1-11 (11)