Computational modeling of cellular structures using conditional deep generative networks. Academic Article uri icon


  • MOTIVATION: Cellular function is closely related to the localizations of its sub-structures. It is, however, challenging to experimentally label all sub-cellular structures simultaneously in the same cell. This raises the need of building a computational model to learn the relationships among these sub-cellular structures and use reference structures to infer the localizations of other structures. RESULTS: We formulate such a task as a conditional image generation problem and propose to use conditional generative adversarial networks for tackling it. We employ an encoder-decoder network as the generator and propose to use skip connections between the encoder and decoder to provide spatial information to the decoder. To incorporate the conditional information in a variety of different ways, we develop three different types of skip connections, known as the self-gated connection, encoder-gated connection and label-gated connection. The proposed skip connections are built based on the conditional information using gating mechanisms. By learning a gating function, the network is able to control what information should be passed through the skip connections from the encoder to the decoder. Since the gate parameters are also learned automatically, we expect that only useful spatial information is transmitted to the decoder to help image generation. We perform both qualitative and quantitative evaluations to assess the effectiveness of our proposed approaches. Experimental results show that our cGAN-based approaches have the ability to generate the desired sub-cellular structures correctly. Our results also demonstrate that the proposed approaches outperform the existing approach based on adversarial auto-encoders, and the new skip connections lead to improved performance. In addition, the localizations of generated sub-cellular structures by our approaches are consistent with observations in biological experiments. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: The source code and more results are available at

published proceedings

  • Bioinformatics

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Yuan, H., Cai, L., Wang, Z., Hu, X., Zhang, S., & Ji, S.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Yuan, Hao||Cai, Lei||Wang, Zhengyang||Hu, Xia||Zhang, Shaoting||Ji, Shuiwang

editor list (cited editors)

  • Murphy, R.

publication date

  • June 2019