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Quantification of fluorescence colocalization and intensity of strongly overlapping cells, e.g., neuronal cultures, is challenging for programs that use image segmentation to identify cells as individual objects. Moreover, learning to use and apply one of the large imaging packages can be very time- and/or resource-demanding. Therefore, we developed the free and highly interactive image analysis program SUIKER (program for SUperImposing KEy Regions) that quantifies colocalization of different proteins or other features over an entire image field. The software allows definition of cellular subareas by subtraction (“punching out”) of structures identified in one channel from structures in a second channel. This allows, e.g., definition of neurites without cell bodies. Moreover, normalization to live or total cell numbers is possible. Providing a detailed manual that contains image analysis examples, we demonstrate how the program uses a combination of colocalization information and fluorescence intensity to quantify carbohydrate-specific stains on neurites. SUIKER can import any multichannel histology or cell culture image, builds on user-guided threshold setting, batch processes large image stacks, and exports all data (including the settings, results and metadata) in flexible formats to be used in Excel.
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