Quantitative approaches for studying cellular structures and organelle morphology in caenorhabditis elegans

Jean-Sébastien Teoh, Ming S. Soh, Joseph J. Byrne, Brent Neumann

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Defining the cellular mechanisms underlying disease is essential for the development of novel therapeutics. A strategy frequently used to unravel these mechanisms is to introduce mutations in candidate genes and qualitatively describe changes in the morphology of tissues and cellular organelles. However, qualitative descriptions may not capture subtle phenotypic differences, might misrepresent phenotypic variations across individuals in a population, and are frequently assessed subjectively. Here, quantitative approaches are described to study the morphology of tissues and organelles in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans using laser scanning confocal microscopy combined with commercially available bio-image processing software. A quantitative analysis of phenotypes affecting synapse integrity (size and integrated fluorescence levels), muscle development (muscle cell size and myosin filament length), and mitochondrial morphology (circularity and size) was performed to understand the effects of genetic mutations on these cellular structures. These quantitative approaches are not limited to the applications described here, as they could readily be used to quantitatively assess the morphology of other tissues and organelles in the nematode, as well as in other model organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59978
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number149
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Biology
  • Body wall muscle
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Imaging
  • Issue 149
  • Mitochondrial morphology
  • Myosin length
  • Quantitative measurements
  • Synaptic morphology

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