Reconstructing the orientation distribution of actin filaments in the lamellipodium of migrating keratocytes from electron microscopy tomography data
2012
Authors: Weichsel J, Urban E, Small JV, Schwarz US
CellNetworks People: Schwarz Ulrich
Journal: Cytometry A.

Migration of motile cells on flat substrates is usually driven by the polymerization of a flat actin filament network. Theoretical models have made different predictions regarding the distribution of the filament orientation in the lamellipodium with respect to the direction of motion. Here we show how one can automatically reconstruct the orientation distribution of actin filaments in the lamellipodium of migrating keratocytes from electron microscopy tomography data. We use two different image analysis methods, an algorithm which explicitly extracts an abstract network representation and an analysis of the gray scale information based on the structure tensor. We show that the two approaches give similar results, both for simulated data and for electron microscopy tomography data from migrating keratocytes. For the lamellipodium at the leading edge of fast moving cells, we find an orientation distribution that is peaked at +35/-35 degrees. For the lamellipodium at the leading edge of slow moving cells as well as for the lamellipodium at the flanks of fast moving cells, one broad peak around 0 degree dominates the distribution.