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Methods Enzymol. 2012;504:127-46. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-391857-4.00006-9.

Measuring membrane protein dynamics in neurons using fluorescence recovery after photobleach.

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MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, School of Biochemistry, Medical Sciences Building, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.


The use of genetically encoded fluorescent tags such as green fluorescent protein (GFP) as reporters to monitor processes in living cells has transformed cell biology. One major application for these tools has been to analyze protein dynamics in neurons. In particular, fluorescence recovery after photobleach (FRAP) of surface expressed fluorophore-tagged proteins has been instrumental to addressing outstanding questions about how neurons orchestrate the synaptic delivery of proteins. Here, we provide an overview of the methodology, equipment, and analysis required to perform, analyze, and interpret these experiments.

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