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Topological Data Analysis of Spatial Patterning in Heterogeneous Cell Populations: Clustering and Sorting With Varying Cell-Cell Adhesion
Dhananjay Bhaskar, William Y. Zhang, Alexandria Volkening, Björn Sandstede, Ian Y. Wong
Different cell types aggregate and sort into hierarchical architectures during the formation of animal tissues. The resulting spatial organization depends (in part) on the strength of adhesion of one cell type to itself relative to other cell types. However, automated and unsupervised classification of these multicellular spatial patterns remains challenging, particularly given their structural diversity and biological variability. Recent developments based on topological data analysis are intriguing to reveal similarities in tissue architecture, but these methods remain computationally expensive. In this article, we show that multicellular patterns organized from two interacting cell types can be efficiently represented through persistence images. Our optimized combination of dimensionality reduction via autoencoders, combined with hierarchical clustering, achieved high classification accuracy for simulations with constant cell numbers. We further demonstrate that persistence images can be normalized to improve classification for simulations with varying cell numbers due to proliferation. Finally, we systematically consider the importance of incorporating different topological features as well as information about each cell type to improve classification accuracy. We envision that topological machine learning based on persistence images will enable versatile and robust classification of complex tissue architectures that occur in development and disease.
Stable Topological Summaries for Analyzing the Organization of Cells in a Packed Tissue
Nieves Atienza, Maria-Jose Jimenez, Manuel Soriano-Trigueros
We use topological data analysis tools for studying the inner organization of cells in segmented images of epithelial tissues. More specifically, for each segmented image, we compute different persistence barcodes, which codify the lifetime of homology classes (persistent homology) along different filtrations (increasing nested sequences of simplicial complexes) that are built from the regions representing the cells in the tissue. We use a complete and well-grounded set of numerical variables over those persistence barcodes, also known as topological summaries. A novel combination of normalization methods for both the set of input segmented images and the produced barcodes allows for the proven stability results for those variables with respect to small changes in the input, as well as invariance to image scale. Our study provides new insights to this problem, such as a possible novel indicator for the development of the drosophila wing disc tissue or the importance of centroids’ distribution to differentiate some tissues from their CVT-path counterpart (a mathematical model of epithelia based on Voronoi diagrams). We also show how the use of topological summaries may improve the classification accuracy of epithelial images using a Random Forest algorithm.