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Cell Div. 2009 Mar 24;4:5. doi: 10.1186/1747-1028-4-5.

A microfluidic device to acquire high-magnification microphotographs of yeast cells.

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Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Bldg, FSB-101, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8562, Japan.



Yeast cell morphology was investigated to reveal the molecular mechanisms of cell morphogenesis and to identify key factors of other processes such as cell cycle progression. We recently developed a semi-automatic image processing program called CalMorph, which allows us to quantitatively analyze yeast cell morphology with the 501 parameters as biological traits and uncover statistical relationships between cell morphological phenotypes and genotypes. However, the current semi-automatic method is not suitable for morphological analysis of large-scale yeast mutants for the reliable prediction of gene functions because of its low-throughput especially at the manual image-acquiring process.


In this study, we developed a microfluidic chip designed to acquire successive microscopic images of yeast cells suitable for CalMorph image analysis. With the microfluidic chip, the morphology of living cells and morphological changes that occur during the cell cycle were successfully characterized.


The microfluidic chip enabled us to acquire the images faster than the conventional method. We speculate that the use of microfluidic chip is effective in acquiring images of large-scale for automated analysis of yeast strains.

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