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.
© 2016 Mangeol et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).