ForSDAT: an automated platform for analyzing force spectroscopy measurements†
Single molecule force spectroscopy using an atomic force microscope is a common method in the study of ligand–receptor interactions, adhesion events and protein folding. Such experiments often produce thousands of force vs. distance curves. Manually analyzing these data is prone to bias and human error, and is extremely time consuming. Most analysis software available offer limited automation of specific interaction detection. Moreover, automatic open-source programs commonly employ force thresholding to distinguish specific interactions from non-specific interactions. This approach is sensitive to a low signal/noise ratio (SNR) and requires optimization for each set of results. This work presents ForSDAT, the Force Spectroscopy Data Analysis Toolkit, as a tool for completely automated data analysis, and describes in detail the analysis algorithm. The results show that ForSDAT analyzes the curves with a high degree of success. Furthermore, ForSDAT is highly modular and can be easily fitted to different analysis processes and extended with custom components, and can therefore be used in different research fields.