Optical flow estimation is one of the oldest and still most active research domains in computer vision. In 35 years, many methodological concepts have been introduced and have progressively improved performances, while opening the way to new challenges. In the last decade, the growing interest in evaluation benchmarks has stimulated a great amount of work. In this paper, we propose a survey of optical flow estimation classifying the main principles elaborated during this evolution, with a particular concern given to recent developments. It is conceived as a tutorial organizing in a comprehensive framework current approaches and practices. We give insights on the motivations, interests and limitations of modeling and optimization techniques, and we highlight similarities between methods to allow for a clear understanding of their behavior.

Microscopy imaging, including fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, has taken a prominent role in life science research and medicine due to its ability to investigate the 3D interior of live cells and organisms. A long-term research in bio-imaging at the sub-cellular and cellular scales consists then in inferring the relationships between the dynamics of macromolecules and their functions. In this area, image processing and analysis methods are now essential to understand the dynamic organization of groups of interacting molecules inside molecular machineries and to address issues in fundamental biology driven by advances in molecular biology, optics and technology. In this paper, we present recent advances in fluorescence and electron microscopy and we focus on dedicated image processing and analysis methods required to quantify phenotypes for a limited number but typical studies in cell imaging.

We have developed a 3D super-resolution microscopy method that enables deep imaging in cells. This technique relies on the effective combination of Multifocus Microscopy and astigmatic 3D single-molecule localization microscopy. We describe the optical system and the fabrication process of its key element, the Multifocus grating. Then, two strategies for localizing emitters with our imaging method are presented and compared with a previously described deep 3D localization algorithm. Finally, we demonstrate the performance of the method by imaging the nuclear envelope of eukaryotic cells reaching a depth of field of ~ 4µm.

In order to study the detailed assembly and regulation mechanisms of complex structures and machineries in the cell, simultaneous in situ observation of all the individual interacting components should be achieved. Multi-color Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM) is ideally suited for these quantifications. Here, we build on previous developments and thoroughly discuss a protocol for two-color SMLM combining PALM and STORM, including sample preparation details, image acquisition and data postprocessing analysis. We implement and evaluate a recently proposed colocalization analysis method (aCBC) that allows single-molecule colocalization quantification with the potential of revealing fine, nanometer-scaled, structural details of multicomponent complexes. Finally, using a doubly-labeled nuclear factor (Beaf-32) in Drosophila S2 cells we experimentally validate the colocalization quantification algorithm, highlight its advantages and discuss how using high molecular weight fluorescently labeled tags compromises colocalization precision in two-color SMLM experiments.

Although many factors required for the formation of export-competent mRNPs have been described, an integrative view of the spatiotemporal coordinated cascade leading mRNPs from their site of transcription to their site of nuclear exit, at a single cell level, is still partially missing due to technological limitations. Here we report that the RNA Spinach aptamer is a powerful tool for mRNA imaging in live S. cerevisiae with high spatial-temporal resolution and no perturbation of the mRNA biogenesis properties. Dedicated image processing workflows are developed to allow detection of very low abundance of transcripts, accurate quantitative dynamic studies, as well as to provide a localization precision close to 100 nm at consistent time scales. Combining these approaches has provided a state-of-the-art analysis of the osmotic shock response in live yeast by localizing induced transcription factors, target gene loci and corresponding transcripts.

The release of extracellular vesicles (EVs) is a highly conserved process exploited by diverse organisms as a mode of intercellular communication. Vesicles of sizes ranging from 30 to 1000 nm, or even larger, are generated by blebbing of the plasma membrane (microvesicles) or formed in multivesicular endosomes (MVEs) to be secreted by exocytosis as exosomes. Exosomes, microvesicles and other EVs contain membrane and cytosolic components that include proteins, lipids and RNAs, a composition that differs related to their site of biogenesis. Several mechanisms are involved in vesicle formation at the plasma membrane or in endosomes, which is reflected in their heterogeneity, size and composition. EVs have significant promise for therapeutics and diagnostics and for understanding physiological and pathological processes all of which have boosted research to find modulators of their composition, secretion and targeting.

Tissue morphogenesis is orchestrated by cell shape changes. Forces required to power these changes are generated by non-muscle myosin II (MyoII) motor proteins pulling filamentous actin (F-actin). Actomyosin networks undergo cycles of assembly and disassembly (pulses)(1,2) to cause cell deformations alternating with steps of stabilization to result in irreversible shape changes(3-6). Although this ratchet-like behaviour operates in a variety of contexts, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we investigate the role of MyoII regulation through the conserved Rho1-Rok pathway(7) during Drosophila melanogaster germband extension. This morphogenetic process is powered by cell intercalation, which involves the shrinkage of junctions in the dorsal-ventral axis (vertical junctions) followed by junction extension in the anterior-posterior axis(8). While polarized flows of medial-apical MyoII pulses deform vertical junctions, MyoII enrichment on these junctions (planar polarity) stabilizes them(6). We identify two critical properties of MyoII dynamics that underlie stability and pulsatility: exchange kinetics governed by phosphorylation-dephosphorylation cycles of the MyoII regulatory light chain; and advection due to contraction of the motors on F-actin networks. Spatial control over MyoII exchange kinetics establishes two stable regimes of high and low dissociation rates, resulting in MyoII planar polarity. Pulsatility emerges at intermediate dissociation rates, enabling convergent advection of MyoII and its upstream regulators Rho1 GTP, Rok and MyoII phosphatase. Notably, pulsatility is not an outcome of an upstream Rho1 pacemaker. Rather, it is a self-organized system that involves positive and negative biomechanical feedback between MyoII advection and dissociation rates.

Chromosomes of a broad range of species, from bacteria to mammals, are structured by large topological domains whose precise functional roles and regulatory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we combine super-resolution microscopies and chromosome-capture technologies to unravel the higher-order organization of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome and its dynamic rearrangements during the cell cycle. We decipher the fine 3D architecture of the origin domain, revealing folding motifs regulated by condensin-like complexes. This organization, along with global folding throughout the genome, is present before replication, disrupted by active DNA replication, and re-established thereafter. Single-cell analysis revealed a strict correspondence between sub-cellular localization of origin domains and their condensation state. Our results suggest that the precise 3D folding pattern of the origin domain plays a role in the regulation of replication initiation, chromosome organization, and DNA segregation.

Autophagy is a key degradative pathway coordinated by external cues, including starvation, oxidative stress, or pathogen detection. Rare are the molecules known to contribute mechanistically to the regulation of autophagy and expressed specifically in particular environmental contexts or in distinct cell types. Here, we unravel the role of RUN and FYVE domain containing protein 4 (RUFY4) as a positive molecular regulator of macroautophagy in primary dendritic cells (DCs). We show that exposure to interleukin-4 (IL-4) during DC differentiation enhances autophagy flux through mTORC1 regulation and RUFY4 induction, which in turn actively promote LC3 degradation, Syntaxin 17 positive autophagosome formation, and lysosome tethering. Enhanced autophagy boosts endogenous antigen presentation by MHC II and allows host control of Brucella abortus replication in IL-4 treated DCs and in RUFY4-expressing cells. RUFY4 is therefore the first molecule characterized to date that promotes autophagy and influences endosome dynamics in a subset of immune cells.

Many receptor-mediated endocytic processes are mediated by constitutive budding of clathrin-coated pits (CCPs) at spatially randomized sites before slowly pinching off from the plasma membrane (60-100 s). In contrast, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) coupled with regulated exocytosis in excitable cells occurs at peri-exocytic sites shortly after vesicle fusion (∼10 s). The molecular mechanism underlying this spatiotemporal coupling remains elusive. We show that coupled endocytosis makes use of pre-formed CCPs, which hop to nascent fusion sites nearby following vesicle exocytosis. A dynamic cortical microtubular network, anchored at the cell surface by the cytoplasmic linker-associated protein on microtubules and the LL5β/ELKS complex on the plasma membrane, provides the track for CCP hopping. Local diacylglycerol gradients generated upon exocytosis guide the direction of hopping. Overall, the CCP-cytoskeleton-lipid interaction demonstrated here mediates exocytosis-coupled fast recycling of both plasma membrane and vesicular proteins, and it is required for the sustained exocytosis during repetitive stimulations.

Multiconfocal microscopy gives a good compromise between fast imaging and reasonable resolution. However, the low intensity of live fluorescent emitters is a major limitation to this technique. Aberrations induced by the optical setup, especially the mismatch of the refractive index and the biological sample itself, distort the point spread function and further reduce the amount of detected photons. Altogether, this leads to impaired image quality, preventing accurate analysis of molecular processes in biological samples and imaging deep in the sample. The amount of detected fluorescence can be improved with adaptive optics. Here, we used a compact adaptive optics module (adaptive optics box for sectioning optical microscopy), which was specifically designed for spinning disk confocal microscopy. The module overcomes undesired anomalies by correcting for most of the aberrations in confocal imaging. Existing aberration detection methods require prior illumination, which bleaches the sample. To avoid multiple exposures of the sample, we established an experimental model describing the depth dependence of major aberrations. This model allows us to correct for those aberrations when performing a z-stack, gradually increasing the amplitude of the correction with depth. It does not require illumination of the sample for aberration detection, thus minimizing photobleaching and phototoxicity. With this model, we improved both signal-to-background ratio and image contrast. Here, we present comparative studies on a variety of biological samples.

Many receptor-mediated endocytic processes are mediated by constitutive budding of clathrin-coated pits (CCPs) at spatially randomized sites before slowly pinching off from the plasma membrane (60-100 s). In contrast, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) coupled with regulated exocytosis in excitable cells occurs at peri-exocytic sites shortly after vesicle fusion (∼10 s). The molecular mechanism underlying this spatiotemporal coupling remains elusive. We show that coupled endocytosis makes use of pre-formed CCPs, which hop to nascent fusion sites nearby following vesicle exocytosis. A dynamic cortical microtubular network, anchored at the cell surface by the cytoplasmic linker-associated protein on microtubules and the LL5β/ELKS complex on the plasma membrane, provides the track for CCP hopping. Local diacylglycerol gradients generated upon exocytosis guide the direction of hopping. Overall, the CCP-cytoskeleton-lipid interaction demonstrated here mediates exocytosis-coupled fast recycling of both plasma membrane and vesicular proteins, and it is required for the sustained exocytosis during repetitive stimulations.