Automated segmentation of electron tomograms for a quantitative description of actin filament networks

Alexander Rigort, David Günther, Reiner Hegerl, Daniel Baum, Britta Weber, Steffen Prohaska, Ohad Medalia, Wolfgang Baumeister, Hans Christian Hege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cryo-electron tomography allows to visualize individual actin filaments and to describe the three-dimensional organization of actin networks in the context of unperturbed cellular environments. For a quantitative characterization of actin filament networks, the tomograms must be segmented in a reproducible manner. Here, we describe an automated procedure for the segmentation of actin filaments, which combines template matching with a new tracing algorithm. The result is a set of lines, each one representing the central line of a filament. As demonstrated with cryo-tomograms of cellular actin networks, these line sets can be used to characterize filament networks in terms of filament length, orientation, density, stiffness (persistence length), or the occurrence of branching points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Volume177
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Actin branching
  • Cryo-electron tomography
  • Feature extraction
  • Image processing
  • Local shape analysis

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