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Molecular movement analysis with accurate software

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Diffusion is the process that lets the color spread through tea, but there is way more to it than that: It's also one of the most fundamental principles underlying the inner workings of living cells. The ability of molecules to move in or between cells determines where -- and if -- they can carry out their function. Consequently, the motility of molecules can reveal a lot about their tasks in the living organism. Scientists are therefore using so-called "FRAP" assays (FRAP: Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching) to investigate diffusion kinetics, a method established more than 40 years ago.

The interdisciplinary team around Patrick Müller at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Tübingen, Germany, had a new take on this kind of experiment. In the journal Nature Communications they call attention to the limitations of pre-existing analysis tools for FRAP assays -- and offer a flexible and accurate alternative: their open-access software "PyFRAP."

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