Our paper is titled "Quantitative Approaches for Studying Cellular Structures and Organelle Morphology in Caenorhabditis elegans".
In this manuscript, we outline quantitative methods for the analysis of synaptic size and integrity, muscle morphology, and mitochondrial shape in C. elegans using freely available image processing tools.
Many studies in C. elegans use qualitative methods for comparing differences in the morphology of organelles and tissues. However, these can be problematic as they may not capture subtle phenotypic differences, might under- or over-represent variations across individuals in a population, and are assessed subjectively. We have developed quantitative methods using a number of different freely available programs (Fiji, ilastik, CellProfiler, SQUASSH) to assess the morphology of synapses, muscles and mitochondria. We believe that these methods provide more robust and less biased means for assessing morphological changes as a result of genetic mutations or changes in environmental conditions.
Our quantitative approaches are not limited to the applications we describe, as they could readily be used to assess the morphology of other tissues and organelles in the nematode, as well as in other model organisms or in cultured cells. We hope that our techniques will help to shift the field away from categorical assessments and towards non-subjective quantifications.