The function of most genes in humans (and even in lower organisms) remains unknown, despite the successful systematic genome sequencing programmes. This has ushered in the era of high-throughput biology as a means to establish gene functions. Recent developments in biology now make it possible to screen thousands of gene products 'simultaneously' for their role in biological processes such as cell division, signalling pathways and gene expression; this is done with the help of fusion proteins, e.g. those based on GFP (green fluorescent protein).
Such processes can involve the nuclear-cytoplasmic translocation of signalling molecules. To follow this it is necessary to mark the cell and nuclear boundaries in an image sequence in individual cells. For complex processes, with both rapid cell motion and nuclear translocation, it is extremely time-consuming to mark such cell boundaries manually. Fast image analysis is then essential for high-throughput functional gene analysis. CellTracker, as one part of the project high throughput analysis of gene function in mammalian cells, aims at fast cell boundary tracking.
The CellTracker is mainly developed by Hailin Shen in the Bioanalytical Sciences Group, University of Manchester. If you have any question/comment regarding the use of CellTracker, please contact Hailin at h DOT shen AT manchester DOT ac DOT uk.