Indexed on: 21 Dec '18Published on: 17 Dec '18Published in: Electronics
Quantification of the actin cytoskeleton is of prime importance to unveil the cellular force sensing and transduction mechanism. Although fluorescence imaging provides a convenient tool for observing the morphology of the actin cytoskeleton, due to the lack of approaches to accurate actin cytoskeleton quantification, the dynamics of mechanotransduction is still poorly understood. Currently, the existing image-based actin cytoskeleton analysis tools are either incapable of quantifying both the orientation and the quantity of the actin cytoskeleton simultaneously or the quantified results are subject to analysis artifacts. In this study, we propose an image recognition-based actin cytoskeleton quantification (IRAQ) approach, which quantifies both the actin cytoskeleton orientation and quantity by using edge, line, and brightness detection algorithms. The actin cytoskeleton is quantified through three parameters: the partial actin-cytoskeletal deviation (PAD), the total actin-cytoskeletal deviation (TAD), and the average actin-cytoskeletal intensity (AAI). First, Canny and Sobel edge detectors are applied to skeletonize the actin cytoskeleton images, then PAD and TAD are quantified using the line directions detected by Hough transform, and AAI is calculated through the summational brightness over the detected cell area. To verify the quantification accuracy, the proposed IRAQ was applied to six artificially-generated actin cytoskeleton mesh work models. The average error for both the quantified PAD and TAD was less than 1.22 ∘ . Then, IRAQ was implemented to quantify the actin cytoskeleton of NIH/3T3 cells treated with an F-actin inhibitor (latrunculin B). The quantification results suggest that the local and total actin-cytoskeletal organization became more disordered with the increase of latrunculin B dosage, and the quantity of the actin cytoskeleton showed a monotonically decreasing relation with latrunculin B dosage.