eHooke: a tool for automated image analysis of spherical bacteria based on cell cycle progression

Bruno M Saraiva, Ludwig Krippahl, Sérgio R Filipe, Ricardo Henriques, Mariana G Pinho (see publication in Journal )


Fluorescence microscopy is a critical tool for cell biology studies on bacterial cell division and morphogenesis. As the analysis of fluorescence microscopy images evolved beyond initial qualitative studies, numerous images analysis tools were developed to extract quantitative parameters on cell morphology and organization. To understand cellular processes required for bacterial growth and division, it is particularly important to perform such analysis in the context of cell cycle progression. However, manual assignment of cell cycle stages is laborious and prone to user bias. While cell elongation can be used as a proxy for cell cycle progression in rod-shaped or ovoid bacteria, that is not the case for cocci, such as Staphylococcus aureus. Here we describe eHooke, an image analysis framework developed specifically for automated analysis of microscopy images of spherical bacterial cells. eHooke contains a trained artificial neural network to automatically classify the cell cycle phase of individual S. aureus cells. Users can then apply various functions to obtain biologically relevant information on morphological features of individual cells and cellular localization of proteins, in the context of the cell cycle.