The original approach to calculating diffusion coefficients of a fluorescent probe from Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) measurements assumes bleaching with a circular laser beam of a Gaussian intensity profile. This method was used without imaging the bleached cell. An empirical equation for calculating diffusion coefficients from a rectangular bleaching geometry, created in a confocal image, was later published, however a single method allowing the calculation of diffusion coefficients for arbitrary geometry does not exist. Our simulation approach allows computation of diffusion coefficients regardless of bleaching geometry used in the FRAP experiment. It accepts a multiple-frame TIFF file, representing the experiment as input, and simulates the (pure) diffusion of the fluorescent probes (2D random walk) starting with the first post-bleach frame of the actual data. It then fits the simulated data to the real data and extracts the diffusion coefficient. We validate our approach using a well characterized diffusing molecule (DiIC 18) against well-established analytical procedures. We show that the algorithm is able to calculate the absolute value of diffusion coefficients for arbitrary bleaching geometries, including exaggeratedly large ones. It is provided freely as an ImageJ plugin, and should facilitate quantitative FRAP measurements for users equipped with standard fluorescence microscopy setups.
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