KymographClear and KymographDirect: two tools for the automated quantitative analysis of molecular and cellular dynamics using kymographs

Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Jun 15;27(12):1948-57. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0404. Epub 2016 Apr 20.


Dynamic processes are ubiquitous and essential in living cells. To properly understand these processes, it is imperative to measure them in a time-dependent way and analyze the resulting data quantitatively, preferably with automated tools. Kymographs are single images that represent the motion of dynamic processes and are widely used in live-cell imaging. Although they contain the full range of dynamics, it is not straightforward to extract this quantitative information in a reliable way. Here we present two complementary, publicly available software tools, KymographClear and KymographDirect, that have the power to reveal detailed insight in dynamic processes. KymographClear is a macro toolset for ImageJ to generate kymographs that provides automatic color coding of the different directions of movement. KymographDirect is a stand-alone tool to extract quantitative information from kymographs obtained from a wide range of dynamic processes in an automated way, with high accuracy and reliability. We discuss the concepts behind these software tools, validate them using simulated data, and test them on experimental data. We show that these tools can be used to extract motility parameters from a diverse set of cell-biological experiments in an automated and user-friendly way.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software