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Nature protocols

Vertebrate neural stem cell segmentation, tracking and lineaging with validation and editing.


PMID 22094730

Abstract

This protocol and the accompanying software program called LEVER (lineage editing and validation) enable quantitative automated analysis of phase-contrast time-lapse images of cultured neural stem cells. Images are captured at 5-min intervals over a period of 5-15 d as the cells proliferate and differentiate. LEVER automatically segments, tracks and generates lineage trees of the stem cells from the image sequence. In addition to generating lineage trees capturing the population dynamics of clonal development, LEVER extracts quantitative phenotypic measurements of cell location, shape, movement and size. When available, the system can include biomolecular markers imaged using fluorescence. It then displays the results to the user for highly efficient inspection and editing to correct any errors in the segmentation, tracking or lineaging. To enable high-throughput inspection, LEVER incorporates features for rapid identification of errors and for learning from user-supplied corrections to automatically identify and correct related errors.