UNIT 12.4 Time-Lapse Microscopy Approaches to Track Cell Cycle Progression at the Single-Cell Level

  1. Rachel J. Errington,
  2. Nuria Marquez,
  3. Sally C. Chappell,
  4. Marie Wiltshire,
  5. Paul J. Smith

Published Online: 1 FEB 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471142956.cy1204s31

Current Protocols in Cytometry

Current Protocols in Cytometry

How to Cite

Errington, R. J., Marquez, N., Chappell, S. C., Wiltshire, M. and Smith, P. J. 2005. Time-Lapse Microscopy Approaches to Track Cell Cycle Progression at the Single-Cell Level. Current Protocols in Cytometry. 31:12.4:12.4.1–12.4.11.

Author Information

  1. School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2005
  2. Published Print: JAN 2005

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (1 APR 2013)


Time-lapse microscopy can be described as the repeated collection of a field of view from a microscope at discrete time intervals. The duration of the time interval defines the temporal resolution, which in turn characterizes the type of event detected. This unit describes the implementation of time-lapse microscopy to link initial cell cycle position during acute exposures to anti-cancer agents with anti-proliferative consequences for individual cells. The approach incorporates fundamental concepts arising from the ability to capture simple video sequences of cells from which it is possible to extract kinetic descriptors that reflect the interplay of mitosis and cell death in the growth of an unsynchronized tumor population. Utilizing a multi-well format enables the user to test different drug derivatives, multiple dose ranges, or cell cultures with unique genetic backgrounds. The objective of this unit is to present a generic methodology for capturing time-lapse sequences and subsequently mining the data for comprehensive event analysis.


  • video microscopy;
  • time-lapse;
  • data mining;
  • cell cycle dynamics