Navigation Links
Method of the future uses single-cell imaging to identify gene interactions

February 9, 2010 Cellular imaging offers a wealth of data about how cells respond to stimuli, but harnessing this technique to study biological systems is a daunting challenge. In a study published online in Genome Research (, researchers have developed a novel method of interpreting data from single-cell images to identify genetic interactions within biological networks, offering a glimpse into the future of high-throughput cell imaging analysis.

For years, scientists have been peering through a microscope at cells as they change appearance in response to different treatments, yet data collection is arduous, largely conducted qualitatively by eye. However, recent technological advances have led to the development of high-throughput image screening methods that can produce extensive datasets of hundreds of different morphological features.

With the ability to collect large imaging datasets, researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School recognized an opportunity to explore the cellular networks that regulate cell morphology. "These images are an enormous source of data that is only beginning to be tapped," said MIT researcher Bonnie Berger, senior author of the work published today. "We realized we had enough data to go beyond classification and start to understand the mechanism behind the differences in shape."

To meet the challenge of interpreting cell image data, Berger and MIT graduate student Oaz Nir developed a novel computational model to identify genetic interactions using high-dimensional morphological data. Integrating prerequisite knowledge of a pathway, their model maps potential interactions within a network by looking for similar morphological features upon genetic perturbation.

The group demonstrated the method by analyzing the Rho-signaling network in fruit flies, a network that regulates cell adhesion and motility in eukaryotic organisms. In collaboration with Chris Bakal and Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School, they "knocked-down" components of the Rho-signaling network using RNA interference and then imaged thousands of fly cells, gathering measurements of cell perimeter, nuclear area, and more than 150 other morphological features for each cell. The data was then passed through the computational framework to produce a set of high-confidence interactions, supported by confirmation of previously known interactions.

The group found that by making combinatorial knockdowns of Rho network components, their computational method was able to accurately infer Rho-signaling network interactions more precisely than when using only data from single knockdowns. Berger noted that this finding highlights the importance of combinatorial experiments for inferring complex networks, necessary to overcome natural redundancy in signaling pathways. As perturbation of the Rho pathway in humans has been implicated in cancer and other diseases, the authors believe that these predicted interactions will be excellent candidates for future study.

Berger expects that in combination with other sources of data, imaging as a new source of high-throughput data should appreciably increase the accuracy of known signaling networks. "This work provides a glimpse into the future," added Berger, "where looking under the microscope manually at cells one-by-one is replaced with automated high-throughput processing of many cellular images."


Contact: Peggy Calicchia
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Safe water: simpler method for analyzing radium in water samples cuts testing time
2. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
3. New method reveals substances on surfaces of any kind
4. Alternative methods proposed to detect pesticides and antibiotics in water and natural food
5. 454 Sequencing: Science paper describes a novel, highly efficient method of sequencing ancient DNA
6. Contraception: progress brings hope for new methods for men
7. From brains to behavior: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for neuroscience research
8. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights a method that captures cell growth and activity
9. Team of scientists develops non-invasive method to track nerve-cell development in live human brain
10. New book presents methods to poke and prod individual molecules
11. Feinstein researchers develop new genetic method and identify novel genes for schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit ... Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein ... dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um ... der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. Hoffmann, former senior vice ... University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School effective June 27. , ... with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading classes and participating in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... 15mm, machines such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end ... height is the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ... and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 ... targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting class ... in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: