Analysis of transient behavior in complex trajectories: application to secretory vesicle dynamics

Biophys J. 2006 Nov 1;91(9):3542-59. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.105.080622. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Analysis of trajectories of dynamical biological objects, such as breeding ants or cell organelles, is essential to reveal the interactions they develop with their environments. Many previous works used a global characterization based on parameters calculated for entire trajectories. In cases where transient behavior was detected, this usually concerned only a particular type, such as confinement or directed motion. However, these approaches are not appropriate in situations in which the tracked objects may display many different types of transient motion. We have developed a method to exhaustively analyze different kinds of transient behavior that the tracked objects may exhibit. The method discriminates stalled periods, constrained and directed motions from random dynamics by evaluating the diffusion coefficient, the mean-square displacement curvature, and the trajectory asymmetry along individual trajectories. To detect transient motions of various durations, these parameters are calculated along trajectories using a rolling analysis window whose width is variable. The method was applied to the study of secretory vesicle dynamics in the subplasmalemmal region of human carcinoid BON cells. Analysis of transitions between transient motion periods, combined with plausible assumptions about the origin of each motion type, leads to a model of dynamical subplasmalemmal organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Secretory Vesicles / physiology*
  • Secretory Vesicles / ultrastructure*