Monitoring and quantifying dynamic physiological processes in live neurons using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching

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The direct visualization of subcellular dynamic processes is often hampered by limitations in the resolving power achievable with conventional microscopy techniques. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching has emerged as a highly informative approach to address this challenge, permitting the quantitative measurement of the movement of small organelles and proteins in living functioning cells, and offering detailed insights into fundamental cellular phenomena of physiological importance. In recent years, its implementation has benefited from the increasing availability of confocal microscopy systems and of powerful labeling techniques based on genetically encoded fluorescent proteins or other chemical markers. In this review, we present fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and related techniques in the context of contemporary neurobiological research and discuss quantitative and semi-quantitative approaches to their interpretation.

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