Automated and Semi-Automated Enhancement, Segmentation and Tracing of Cytoskeletal Networks in Microscopic Images: A Review
Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Cytoskeletal filaments are structures of utmost importance to biological cells and organisms due to their versatility and the significant functions they perform. These biopolymers are most often organised into network-like scaffolds with a complex morphology. Understanding the geometrical and topological organisation of these networks provides key insights into their functional roles. However, this non-trivial task requires a combination of high-resolution microscopy and sophisticated image
... essing/analysis software. The correct analysis of the network structure and connectivity needs precise segmentation of microscopic images. While segmentation of filament-like objects is a well-studied concept in biomedical imaging, where tracing of neurons and blood vessels is routine, there are comparatively fewer studies focusing on the segmentation of cytoskeletal filaments and networks from microscopic images. The developments in the fields of microscopy, computer vision and deep learning, however, began to facilitate the task, as reflected by an increase in the recent literature on the topic. Here, we aim to provide a short summary of the research on the (semi-)automated enhancement, segmentation and tracing methods that are particularly designed and developed for microscopic images of cytoskeletal networks. In addition to providing an overview of the conventional methods, we cover the recently introduced, deep-learning-assisted methods alongside the advantages they offer over classical methods.