Regular Article - Living Systems
CiliaQ: a simple, open-source software for automated quantification of ciliary morphology and fluorescence in 2D, 3D, and 4D images
Institute of Innate Immunity, Biophysical Imaging, Medical Faculty, University of Bonn, 53127, Bonn, Germany
2 Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, The Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
3 Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation, The Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
4 Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
Accepted: 1 February 2021
Published online: 8 March 2021
Cilia are hair-like membrane protrusions that emanate from the surface of most vertebrate cells and are classified into motile and primary cilia. Motile cilia move fluid flow or propel cells, while also fulfill sensory functions. Primary cilia are immotile and act as a cellular antenna, translating environmental cues into cellular responses. Ciliary dysfunction leads to severe diseases, commonly termed ciliopathies. The molecular details underlying ciliopathies and ciliary function are, however, not well understood. Since cilia are small subcellular compartments, imaging-based approaches have been used to study them. However, tools to comprehensively analyze images are lacking. Automatic analysis approaches require commercial software and are limited to 2D analysis and only a few parameters. The widely used manual analysis approaches are time consuming, user-biased, and difficult to compare. Here, we present CiliaQ, a package of open-source, freely available, and easy-to-use ImageJ plugins. CiliaQ allows high-throughput analysis of 2D and 3D, static or time-lapse images from fluorescence microscopy of cilia in cell culture or tissues, and outputs a comprehensive list of parameters for ciliary morphology, length, bending, orientation, and fluorescence intensity, making it broadly applicable. We envision CiliaQ as a resource and platform for reproducible and comprehensive analysis of ciliary function in health and disease.
© The Author(s) 2021
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