2D-GolgiTrack—a semi-automated tracking system to quantify morphological changes and dynamics of the Golgi apparatus and Golgi-derived membrane tubules

Jindaporn Yaothak, Jeremy C. Simpson, Linda F. Heffernan, Yuh Show Tsai*, Chung Chih Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Golgi apparatus and membrane tubules derived from this organelle play essential roles in membrane trafficking in eukaryotic cells. High-resolution live cell imaging is one highly suitable method for studying the molecular mechanisms of dynamics of organelles during membrane trafficking events. Due to the complex morphological changes and dynamic movements of the Golgi apparatus and associated membrane tubules during membrane trafficking, it is challenging to accurately quantify them. In this study, a semi-automated 2D tracking system, 2D-GolgiTrack, has been established for quantifying morphological changes and movements of Golgi elements, specifically encompassing the Golgi apparatus and its associated tubules, the fission and fusion of Golgi tubules, and the kinetics of formation of Golgi tubules and redistribution of the Golgi-associated protein Rab6A to the endoplasmic reticulum. The Golgi apparatus and associated tubules are segmented by a combination of Otsu’s method and adaptive local normalization thresholding. Curvilinear skeletons and tips of skeletons of segmented tubules are used for calculating tubule length by the Geodesic method. The k-nearest neighbor is applied to search the possible candidate objects in the next frame and link the correct objects of adjacent frames by a tracking algorithm to calculate changes in morphological features of each Golgi object or tubule, e.g., number, length, shape, branch point and position, and fission or fusion events. Tracked objects are classified into morphological subtypes, and the Track-Map function of morphological evolution visualizes events of fission and fusion. Our 2D-GolgiTrack not only provides tracking results with 95% accuracy, but also maps morphological evolution for fast visual interpretation of the fission and fusion events. Our tracking system is able to characterize key morphological and dynamic features of the Golgi apparatus and associated tubules, enabling biologists to gain a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of membrane traffic involving this essential organelle. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • 2D-GolgiTrack
  • Fission
  • Fusion
  • Golgi apparatus
  • Golgi tubules
  • Rab6A
  • Tracking


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