Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Semi-automatic determination of cell surface areas used in systems biology
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Quantitative biology requires high precision measurement of cellular parameters such as surface areas or volumes. Here, we have developed an integrated approach in which the data from 3D confocal microscopy and 2D high-resolution transmission electron microscopy were combined. The volumes and diameters of the cells within one population were automatically measured from the confocal data sets. The perimeter of the cell slices was measured in the TEM images using a semi-automated segmentation into background, cytoplasm and nucleus. These data in conjunction with approaches from stereology allowed for an unbiased estimate of surface areas with high accuracy. We have determined the volumes and surface areas of the cells and nuclei of six different immune cell types. In mast cells for example, the resulting cell surface was 3.5 times larger than the theoretical surface assuming the cell was a sphere with the same volume. Thus, our accurate data can now serve as inputs in modeling approaches in systems immunology.