A quantitative approach for analyzing the spatio-temporal distribution of 3D intracellular events in fluorescence microscopy
Analysis of the spatial distribution of endomembrane trafficking is fundamental to understand the mechanisms controlling cellular dynamics, cell homeostasy, and cell interaction with its external environment in normal and pathological situations. We present a semi-parametric framework to quantitatively analyze and visualize the spatio-temporal distribution of intracellular events from different conditions. From the spatial coordinates of intracellular features such as segmented subcellular structures or vesicle trajectories, QuantEv automatically estimates weighted densities that are easy to interpret and performs a comprehensive statistical analysis from distribution distances. We apply this approach to study the spatio-temporal distribution of moving Rab6 fluorescently labeled membranes with respect to their direction of movement in crossbow- and disk-shaped cells. We also investigate the position of the generating hub of Rab11-positive membranes and the effect of actin disruption on Rab11 trafficking in coordination with cell shape.