HybTrack: A hybrid single particle tracking software using manual and automatic detection of dim signals

Byung Hun Lee, Hye Yoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Single particle tracking is a compelling technique for investigating the dynamics of nanoparticles and biological molecules in a broad range of research fields. In particular, recent advances in fluorescence microscopy have made single molecule tracking a prevalent method for studying biomolecules with a high spatial and temporal precision. Particle tracking algorithms have matured over the past three decades into more easily accessible platforms. However, there is an inherent difficulty in tracing particles that have a low signal-to-noise ratio and/or heterogeneous subpopulations. Here, we present a new MATLAB based tracking program which combines the benefits of manual and automatic tracking methods. The program prompts the user to manually locate a particle when an ambiguous situation occurs during automatic tracking. We demonstrate the utility of this program by tracking the movement of β-actin mRNA in the dendrites of cultured hippocampal neurons. We show that the diffusion coefficient of β-actin mRNA decreases upon neuronal stimulation by bicuculline treatment. This tracking method enables an efficient dissection of the dynamic regulation of biological molecules in highly complex intracellular environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number212
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Stephen M. Anthony for allowing us to include his MATLAB code for the 2D Gaussian fitting in the HybTrack software. This work was supported by the Research Grant in 2015 and the Creative-Pioneering Researchers Program through Seoul National University (SNU) and the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015R1C1A1A02036674). B.H.L. was also supported by BK21 Research Fellowships from the Ministry of Education of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


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