The molecular properties and applications of Anthozoa fluorescent proteins and chromoproteins

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The green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and its fluorescent homologs from Anthozoa corals have become invaluable tools for in vivo imaging of cells and tissues. Despite spectral and chromophore diversity, about 100 cloned members of the GFP-like protein family possess common structural, biochemical and photophysical features. Anthozoa GFP-like proteins are available in colors and properties unlike those of A. victoria GFP variants and thus provide powerful new fluorophores for molecular labeling and intracellular detection. Although Anthozoa GFP-like proteins provide some advantages over GFP, they also have certain drawbacks, such as obligate oligomerization and slow or incomplete fluorescence maturation. In the past few years, effective approaches for eliminating some of these limitations have been described. In addition, several Anthozoa GFP-like proteins have been developed into novel imaging agents, such as monomeric red and dimeric far-red fluorescent proteins, fluorescent timers and photoconvertible fluorescent labels. Future studies on the structure of this diverse set of proteins will further enhance their use in animal tissues and as intracellular biosensors.

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Figure 1: Spectral diversity of Anthozoa GFP-like proteins.
Figure 2: Variety of chromophores within GFP-like proteins.
Figure 3: Monitoring temporal and spatial patterns of target events using fluorescent timer
Figure 4: Overall DsRed tetramer structure.
Figure 5: Ways to overcome FP tetramerization.
Figure 6: Tracking intracellular organelles tagged with kindling fluorescent protein.


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This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (V.V.V.), European Office of Aerospace Research and Development under International Science and Technology Center partner project 2325 and Russian Academy of Sciences for the program “Physicochemical Biology” (K.A.L.).

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Correspondence to Vladislav V Verkhusha.

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Verkhusha, V., Lukyanov, K. The molecular properties and applications of Anthozoa fluorescent proteins and chromoproteins. Nat Biotechnol 22, 289–296 (2004) doi:10.1038/nbt943

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