We demonstrate an optical Fourier processing method to quantify object texture arising from subcellular feature orientation within unstained living cells. Using a digital micromirror device as a Fourier spatial filter, we measured cellular responses to two-dimensional optical Gabor-like filters optimized to sense orientation of nonspherical particles, such as mitochondria, with a width around . Our method showed significantly rounder structures within apoptosis-defective cells lacking the proapoptotic mitochondrial effectors Bax and Bak, when compared with Bax/Bak expressing cells functional for apoptosis, consistent with reported differences in mitochondrial shape in these cells. By decoupling spatial frequency resolution from image resolution, this method enables rapid analysis of nonspherical submicrometer scatterers in an undersampled large field of view and yields spatially localized morphometric parameters that improve the quantitative assessment of biological function.
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