Recomended reading

Systems microscopy: an emerging strategy for the life sciences.
Lock JG, Strömblad S.

Dynamic cellular processes occurring in time and space are fundamental to all physiology and disease. To understand complex and dynamic cellular processes therefore demands the capacity to record and integrate quantitative multiparametric data from the four spatiotemporal dimensions within which living cells self-organize, and to subsequently use these data for the mathematical modeling of cellular systems. To this end, a raft of complementary developments in automated fluorescence microscopy, cell microarray platforms, quantitative image analysis and data mining, combined with multivariate statistics and computational modeling, now coalesce to produce a new research strategy, "systems microscopy", which facilitates systems biology analyses of living cells. Systems microscopy provides the crucial capacities to simultaneously extract and interrogate multiparametric quantitative data at resolution levels ranging from the molecular to the cellular, thereby elucidating a more comprehensive and richly integrated understanding of complex and dynamic cellular systems. The unique capacities of systems microscopy suggest that it will become a vital cornerstone of systems biology, and here we describe the current status and future prospects of this emerging field, as well as outlining some of the key challenges that remain to be overcome

Automated microscopy for high-content RNAi screening.
Conrad C, Gerlich DW.

Fluorescence microscopy is one of the most powerful tools to investigate complex cellular processes such as cell division, cell motility, or intracellular trafficking. The availability of RNA interference (RNAi) technology and automated microscopy has opened the possibility to perform cellular imaging in functional genomics and other large-scale applications. Although imaging often dramatically increases the content of a screening assay, it poses new challenges to achieve accurate quantitative annotation and therefore needs to be carefully adjusted to the specific needs of individual screening applications. In this review, we discuss principles of assay design, large-scale RNAi, microscope automation, and computational data analysis. We highlight strategies for imaging-based RNAi screening adapted to different library and assay designs.

High-throughput fluorescence microscopy for systems biology.
Pepperkok R, Ellenberg J.

In this post-genomic era, we need to define gene function on a genome-wide scale for model organisms and humans. The fundamental unit of biological processes is the cell. Among the most powerful tools to assay such processes in the physiological context of intact living cells are fluorescence microscopy and related imaging techniques. To enable these techniques to be applied to functional genomics experiments, fluorescence microscopy is making the transition to a quantitative and high-throughput technology.

Medalia O, Geiger B.

Focal adhesions (FAs) are highly dynamic multi-protein complexes, through which cells interact with the extracellular matrix (ECM) via integrin receptors. These large assemblies, which typically measure several micrometers in diameter, mediate interactions of cells with external surfaces, and are linked at their cytoplasmic faces with F-actin bundles. Over the last four decades, the molecular diversity of these adhesions and their roles in cell migration and matrix sensing have been extensively studied. Microscopy-based research is considered critical for characterizing and understanding the nature of these assemblies.


Systems microscopy approaches to understand cancer cell migration and metastasis.

Le Dévédec SE, Yan K, de Bont H, Ghotra V, Truong H, Danen EH, Verbeek F, van de Water B.

Cell migration is essential in a number of processes, including wound healing, angiogenesis and cancer metastasis. Especially, invasion of cancer cells in the surrounding tissue is a crucial step that requires increased cell motility. Cell migration is a well-orchestrated process that involves the continuous formation and disassembly of matrix adhesions. Those structural anchor points interact with the extra-cellular matrix and also participate in adhesion-dependent signalling. Although these processes are essential for cancer metastasis, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that regulate adhesion dynamics during tumour cell migration. In this review, we provide an overview of recent advanced imaging strategies together with quantitative image analysis that can be implemented to understand the dynamics of matrix adhesions and its molecular components in relation to tumour cell migration. This dynamic cell imaging together with multiparametric image analysis will help in understanding the molecular mechanisms that define cancer cell migration.

Seventh Framework Programme

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