Averaging leads to loss of information. In the panel on the right, each pixel is the average of the properties of all the individual pixels in the panel on the left. By averaging, all information on the range of properties of individual pixels, and their spatial distribution, is lost. Most biochemical methods used to probe signaling complexes, such as immunoprecipitation followed by immunoblotting or mass spectrometry, average the properties of complexes over the entire population.
Mayer et al. Journal of Biology 2009 8:81 doi:10.1186/jbiol185