FRETboard : semisupervised classification of FRET traces

Lannoy, Carlos Victor de; Filius, Mike; Kim, Sung Hyun; Joo, Chirlmin; Ridder, Dick de


Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a useful phenomenon in biomolecular investigations, as it can be leveraged for nanoscale measurements. The optical signals produced by such experiments can be analyzed by fitting a statistical model. Several software tools exist to fit such models in an unsupervised manner but lack the flexibility to adapt to different experimental setups and require local installations. Here, we propose to fit models to optical signals more intuitively by adopting a semisupervised approach, in which the user interactively guides the model to fit a given data set, and introduce FRETboard, a web tool that allows users to provide such guidance. We show that our approach is able to closely reproduce ground truth FRET statistics in a wide range of simulated single-molecule scenarios and correctly estimate parameters for up to 11 states. On in vitro data, we retrieve parameters identical to those obtained by laborious manual classification in a fraction of the required time. Moreover, we designed FRETboard to be easily extendable to other models, allowing it to adapt to future developments in FRET measurement and analysis.