J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2013, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (2): 131-141.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2012.01184.x

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An Image Skeletonization-Based Tool for Pollen Tube Morphology Analysis and Phenotyping

Chaofeng Wang1, Cai-Ping Gui2, Hai-Kuan Liu2, Dong Zhang2 and Axel Mosig3*   

  1. 1CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
    2National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China
    3Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum 44801, Germany
  • Received:2012-05-24 Accepted:2012-09-26 Published:2012-12-05
  • About author:*Corresponding author Tel: +49 23 4322 9827; Fax: +49 23 4322 9827; E-mail: axel.mosig@bph.rub.de


The mechanism underlying pollen tube growth involves diverse genes and molecular pathways. Alterations in the regulatory genes or pathways cause phenotypic changes reflected by cellular morphology, which can be captured using fluorescence microscopy. Determining and classifying pollen tube morphological phenotypes in such microscopic images is key to our understanding the involvement of genes and pathways. In this context, we propose a computational method to extract quantitative morphological features, and demonstrate that these features reflect morphological differences relevant to distinguish different defects of pollen tube growth. The corresponding software tool furthermore includes a novel semi-automated image segmentation approach, allowing to highly accurately identify the boundary of a pollen tube in a microscopic image.

Wang C, Gui CP, Liu HK, Zhang D, Mosig A (2013) An image skeletonization-based tool for pollen tube morphology analysis and phenotyping. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 55(2), 131–141.

Key words: Cell morphology, image skeletonization, pollen tube growth, branching, image based phenotyping

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