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Integr Biol (Camb). 2010 Nov;2(11-12):561-7. doi: 10.1039/c0ib00036a. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Tools for analyzing cell shape changes during chemotaxis.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


Chemotaxis refers to the ability of cells to sense the direction of external chemical gradients and respond by migrating towards the source. A thorough understanding of the chemotactic response of amoebae and neutrophils requires careful quantification of the cell shape changes observed during cell movement. The stochastic nature of this response calls for a statistical characterization of cellular morphology and this requires the processing of large data sets. For this reason, automatic image analysis algorithms are highly desirable and are becoming increasingly available. These usually include a combination of techniques from image segmentation, morphological transformations, as well as the incorporation of numerical algorithms and physical models. Here we review recent developments in the tracking and understanding of motile chemotaxing cells, with a particular emphasis on the description of pseudopodial activity in chemotactic Dictyostelium cells.

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