Quantitative analysis of actin patch movement in yeast

Biophys J. 2002 May;82(5):2333-43. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(02)75579-3.


To investigate the mechanism of cortical actin patch movement in yeast, we implement a method for computer tracking the motion of the patches. Digital images from fluorescence microscope movies of living cells are fed into an image-processing program, which generates two-dimensional patch coordinates in the plane of focus for each movie frame via an algorithm based on detection of rapid intensity variations. The patch coordinates in neighboring frames are connected by a minimum-distance algorithm. The method is used to analyze control cells and cells treated with the actin-depolymerizing agent latrunculin. The motion of the patches in both cases, as analyzed by mean-square patch displacements, is found to be a random walk on average, with a much lower diffusion coefficient for the latrunculin-treated cells. The mean-squared patch travel distances for all of the latrunculin-treated cells are lower than those for all of the control cells. The patches move independently of one another. We develop a quantitative criterion for the presence of directed motion, and show that numerous patches in the control cells display directed motion to a very high degree of certainty. A small number of patches in the latrunculin-treated cells display directed motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Kinetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Movement
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection


  • Actins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins