3D Surface Reconstruction and Visualization of the Drosophila Wing Imaginal Disc at Cellular Resolution

  • L. Bai, T. Widmann, F. Jülicher, C. Dahmann and D.E. Breen, "3D Surface Reconstruction and Visualization of the Drosophila Wing Imaginal Disc at Cellular Resolution," Proceedings of SPIE-IS&T Conference on Electronic Imaging, Volume 8654, October 2012, Article 86540D.


    Quantifying and visualizing the shape of developing biological tissues provide information about the morphogenetic processes in multicellular organisms. The size and shape of biological tissues depend on the number, size, shape, and arrangement of the constituting cells. To better understand the mechanisms that guide tissues into their final shape, it is important to investigate the cellular arrangement within tissues. Here we present a data processing pipeline to generate 3D volumetric surface models of epithelial tissues, as well as geometric descriptions of the tissues’ apical cell cross-sections. The data processing pipeline includes image acquisition, editing, processing and analysis, 2D cell mesh generation, 3D contour-based surface reconstruction, cell mesh projection, followed by geometric calculations and color-based visualization of morphological parameters. In their first utilization we have applied these procedures to construct a 3D volumetric surface model at cellular resolution of the wing imaginal disc of Drosophila melanogaster. The ultimate goal of the reported effort is to produce tools for the creation of detailed 3D geometric models of the individual cells in epithelial tissues. To date, 3D volumetric surface models of the whole wing imaginal disc have been created, and the apicolateral cell boundaries have been identified, allowing for the calculation and visualization of cell parameters, e.g. apical cross-sectional area of cells. The calculation and visualization of morphological parameters show position-dependent patterns of cell shape in the wing imaginal disc. Our procedures should offer a general data processing pipeline for the construction of 3D volumetric surface models of a wide variety of epithelial tissues.

    Last modified on February 4, 2013.