From fixed to FRAP: measuring protein mobility and activity in living cells

Nat Cell Biol. 2001 Jun;3(6):E145-7. doi: 10.1038/35078615.


Experiments with fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) started 30 years ago to visualize the lateral mobility and dynamics of fluorescent proteins in living cells. Its popularity increased when non-invasive fluorescent tagging became possible with the green fluorescent protein (GFP). Many researchers use GFP to study the localization of fusion proteins in fixed or living cells, but the same fluorescent proteins can also be used to study protein mobility in living cells. Here we review the potential of FRAP to study protein dynamics and activity within a single living cell. These measurements can be made with most standard confocal laser-scanning microscopes equipped with photobleaching protocols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fluorescence
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Subcellular Fractions


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins