Robust and Accurate Registration of 2-D Electrophoresis Gels using Point Matching

M Rogers and J Graham, "Robust and Accurate Registration of 2-D Electrophoresis Gels using Point Matching", IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, vol 16, n 3, pp 624-635, 2007.  IEEE Xplore


Point-matching is a widely applied image registration method and many algorithms have been developed. Registration of 2-D electrophoresis gels is an important problem in biological research that presents many of the technical difficulties that beset point-matching: large numbers of points with variable densities, large nonrigid transformations between point sets, paucity of structural information and large numbers of unmatchable points (outliers) in either set. In seeking the most suitable algorithm for gel registration we have evaluated a number of approaches for accuracy and robustness in the face of these difficulties. Using synthetic images we test combinations of three algorithm components: correspondence assignment, distance metrics and image transformation. We show that a version of the iterated closest point (ICP) algorithm using a non-Euclidean distance metric and a robust estimation of transform parameters provides best performance, equalling SoftAssign in the presence of moderate image distortion, and providing superior robustness against large distortions and high outlier proportions. From this evaluation we develop a gel registration algorithm based on robust ICP and a novel distance metric combining Euclidean, shape context and image-related features. We demonstrate the accuracy of gel matching using synthetic distortions of real gels and show that robust estimation of transform parameters using M-estimators can enforce inverse consistency, ensuring that matching results are independent of the order of the images.