This article is part of the supplement: 2006 International Workshop on Multiscale Biological Imaging, Data Mining and Informatics

Open Access Research

Model based dynamics analysis in live cell microtubule images

Alphan Altınok1*, Erkan Kiris2, Austin J Peck2, Stuart C Feinstein2, Leslie Wilson2, BS Manjunath1 and Kenneth Rose1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California – Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA

2 Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of California – Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2007, 8(Suppl 1):S4  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-S1-S4

Published: 10 July 2007



The dynamic growing and shortening behaviors of microtubules are central to the fundamental roles played by microtubules in essentially all eukaryotic cells. Traditionally, microtubule behavior is quantified by manually tracking individual microtubules in time-lapse images under various experimental conditions. Manual analysis is laborious, approximate, and often offers limited analytical capability in extracting potentially valuable information from the data.


In this work, we present computer vision and machine-learning based methods for extracting novel dynamics information from time-lapse images. Using actual microtubule data, we estimate statistical models of microtubule behavior that are highly effective in identifying common and distinct characteristics of microtubule dynamic behavior.


Computational methods provide powerful analytical capabilities in addition to traditional analysis methods for studying microtubule dynamic behavior. Novel capabilities, such as building and querying microtubule image databases, are introduced to quantify and analyze microtubule dynamic behavior.