Quantitative 4D analyses of epithelial folding during Drosophila gastrulation

Zia Khan, Yu Chiun Wang, Eric F. Wieschaus, Matthias Kaschube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Understanding the cellular and mechanical processes that underlie the shape changes of individual cells and their collective behaviors in a tissue during dynamic and complex morphogenetic events is currently one of the major frontiers in developmental biology. The advent of highspeed time-lapse microscopy and its use in monitoring the cellular events in fluorescently labeled developing organisms demonstrate tremendous promise in establishing detailed descriptions of these events and could potentially provide a foundation for subsequent hypothesis-driven research strategies.However, obtaining quantitative measurements of dynamic shapes and behaviors of cells and tissues in a rapidly developing metazoan embryo using time-lapse 3D microscopy remains technically challenging, with the main hurdle being the shortage of robust imaging processing and analysis tools.We have developed EDGE4D, a software tool for segmenting and tracking membrane-labeled cells using multi-photon microscopy data. Our results demonstrate that EDGE4D enables quantification of the dynamics of cell shape changes, cell interfaces and neighbor relations at single-cell resolution during a complex epithelial folding event in the early Drosophila embryo.We expect this tool to be broadly useful for the analysis of epithelial cell geometries andmovements in a wide variety of developmental contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2895-2900
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Cell shape analysis
  • Cell shape reconstruction
  • Cell tracking
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Epithelial folding
  • Live imaging


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