Statistical Tests for Analysing Particle Trajectories: Application to Intracellular Imaging

Abstract : In this thesis, we are interested in quantifying the dynamics of intracellular particles as proteins, inside living cells. In fact, inference on the modes of mobility of molecules is central in cell biology since it reflects the interactions between the structures of the cell. We model the particle trajectories with stochastic processes as the interior of a living cell is a fluctuating environment. Diffusions are stochastic processes with continuous paths and can model a large range of intracellular movements. Biophysicists distinguish three main types of diffusions, namely Brownian motion, superdiffusion and subdiffusion. These different diffusion processes correspond to distinct biological scenarios. A particle evolving freely inside the cytosol or along the plasma membrane is modelled by Brownian motion; the particle does not travel along any particular direction and can take a very long time to go to a precise area in the cell. Active intracellular transport can overcome this difficulty so that motion is faster and direct specific. In this case, particles are carried by molecular motors along microtubular filament networks and their motion is modelled with superdiffusions. Subdiffusion can be observed in two cases i/ when the particle is confined in a microdomain, ii/ when the particle is hindered by molecular crowding and encounters dynamic or fixed obstacles. We develop a statistical test for classifying the observed trajectories into the three groups of diffusion of interest namely Brownian motion, super-diffusion and subdiffusion. We also design an algorithm to detect the changes of dynamics along a single trajectory. We define the change points as the times at which the particle switches from one diffusion type (Brownian motion, superdiffusion or subdiffusion) to another. Finally, we combine a clustering algorithm with our test procedure to identify micro domains that is zones where the particles are confined. Molecular interactions of great importance for the functioning of the cell take place in such areas.
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Vincent Briane. Statistical Tests for Analysing Particle Trajectories: Application to Intracellular Imaging. Methodology [stat.ME]. Université de Rennes 1, 2017. English. ⟨tel-01727777v2⟩

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