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Number and brightness is a calibration-free fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy (FFS) technique for detecting protein homo-oligomerization. It can be employed using a conventional confocal microscope equipped with digital detectors. A protocol for the use of the technique in vitro is shown by means of a use case where number and brightness can be seen to accurately quantify the oligomeric state of mVenus-labelled FKBP12F36V before and after the addition of the dimerizing drug AP20187. The importance of using the correct microscope acquisition parameters and the correct data preprocessing and analysis methods are discussed. In particular, the importance of the choice of photobleaching correction is stressed. This inexpensive method can be employed to study protein-protein interactions in many biological contexts.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE

Publication Date



Cellular Imaging Group, Wellcome Centre Human Genetics, University of Oxford.


Calibration, Spectrometry, Fluorescence, Software