A suite of MATLAB-based computational tools for automated analysis of COPAS Biosort data.
Complex Object Parametric Analyzer and Sorter (COPAS) devices are large-object, fluorescence-capable flow cytometers used for high-throughput analysis of live model organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and zebrafish. The COPAS is especially useful in C. elegans high-throughput genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screens that utilize fluorescent reporters. However, analysis of data from such screens is relatively labor-intensive and time-consuming. Currently, there are no computational tools available to facilitate high-throughput analysis of COPAS data. We used MATLAB to develop algorithms (COPAquant, COPAmulti, and COPAcompare) to analyze different types of COPAS data. COPAquant reads single-sample files, filters and extracts values and value ratios for each file, and then returns a summary of the data. COPAmulti reads 96-well autosampling files generated with the ReFLX adapter, performs sample filtering, graphs features across both wells and plates, performs some common statistical measures for hit identification, and outputs results in graphical formats. COPAcompare performs a correlation analysis between replicate 96-well plates. For many parameters, thresholds may be defined through a simple graphical user interface (GUI), allowing our algorithms to meet a variety of screening applications. In a screen for regulators of stress-inducible GFP expression, COPAquant dramatically accelerated data analysis and allowed us to rapidly move from raw data to hit identification. Because the COPAS file structure is standardized and our MATLAB code is freely available, our algorithms should be extremely useful for analysis of COPAS data from multiple platforms and organisms. The MATLAB code is freely available at our web site (www.med.upenn.edu/lamitinalab/downloads.shtml).