Local Ca(2+) transients such as puffs and sparks form the building blocks of cellular Ca(2+) signaling in numerous cell types. They have traditionally been studied by linescan confocal microscopy, but advances in TIRF microscopy together with improved electron-multiplied CCD (EMCCD) cameras now enable rapid (>500 frames s(-1)) imaging of subcellular Ca(2+) signals with high spatial resolution in two dimensions. This approach yields vastly more information (ca. 1 Gb min(-1)) than linescan imaging, rendering visual identification and analysis of local events imaged both laborious and subject to user bias. Here we describe a routine to rapidly automate identification and analysis of local Ca(2+) events. This features an intuitive graphical user-interfaces and runs under Matlab and the open-source Python software. The underlying algorithm features spatial and temporal noise filtering to reliably detect even small events in the presence of noisy and fluctuating baselines; localizes sites of Ca(2+) release with sub-pixel resolution; facilitates user review and editing of data; and outputs time-sequences of fluorescence ratio signals for identified event sites along with Excel-compatible tables listing amplitudes and kinetics of events.
Keywords: Algorithm; Automation; Calcium; Fluorescence; Imaging; Total internal reflection microscopy.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.