Template matching as a tool for annotation of tomograms of stained biological structures

M.N. Lebbink, W.J. Geerts, M. Bouwhuis, L.O. Hertzberger, A.J. Verkleij, A.J. Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In recent years, electron tomography has improved our three-dimensional (3D) insight in the structural architecture of cells and organelles. For studies that involve the 3D imaging of stained sections, manual annotation of tomographic data has been an important method to help understand the overall 3D morphology of cellular compartments. Here, we postulate that template matching can provide a tool for more objective annotation and contouring of cellular structures. Also, this technique can extract information hitherto unharvested in tomographic studies. To evaluate the performance of template matching on tomograms of stained sections, we generated several templates representing a piece of microtubule or patches of membranes of different staining-thicknesses. These templates were matched to tomograms of stained electron microscopy sections. Both microtubules and ER-Golgi membranes could be detected using this method. By matching cuboids of different thicknesses, we were able to distinguish between coated and non-coated endosomal membrane-domains. Finally, heterogeneity in staining-thickness of endosomes could be observed. Template matching can be a useful addition to existing annotation-methods, and provide additional insights in cellular architecture. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Molecular biology
  • Life sciences
  • Cell biology
  • Biologie/Milieukunde (BIOL)


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