Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36156590
Link to DOI – e101057310.1371/journal.pcbi.1010573
PLoS Comput Biol 2022 Sep; 18(9): e1010573
Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) has been extensively used to understand molecular dynamics in cells. This technique when applied to soluble, globular molecules driven by diffusion is easily interpreted and well understood. However, the classical methods of analysis cannot be applied to anisotropic structures subjected to directed transport, such as cytoskeletal filaments or elongated organelles transported along microtubule tracks. A new mathematical approach is needed to analyze FRAP data in this context and determine what information can be obtain from such experiments. To address these questions, we analyze fluorescence intensity profile curves after photobleaching of fluorescently labelled intermediate filaments anterogradely transported along microtubules. We apply the analysis to intermediate filament data to determine information about the filament motion. Our analysis consists of deriving equations for fluorescence intensity profiles and developing a mathematical model for the motion of filaments and simulating the model. Two closed forms for profile curves were derived, one for filaments of constant length and one for filaments with constant velocity, and three types of simulation were carried out. In the first type of simulation, the filaments have random velocities which are constant for the duration of the simulation. In the second type, filaments have random velocities which instantaneously change at random times. In the third type, filaments have random velocities and exhibit pausing between velocity changes. Our analysis shows: the most important distribution governing the shape of the intensity profile curves obtained from filaments is the distribution of the filament velocity. Furthermore, filament length which is constant during the experiment, had little impact on intensity profile curves. Finally, gamma distributions for the filament velocity with pauses give the best fit to asymmetric fluorescence intensity profiles of intermediate filaments observed in FRAP experiments performed in polarized migrating astrocytes. Our analysis also shows that the majority of filaments are stationary. Overall, our data give new insight into the regulation of intermediate filament dynamics during cell migration.