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Chromophore-assisted light inactivation (CALI) using the phototoxic fluorescent protein KillerRed


The phototoxic red fluorescent GFP-like protein KillerRed has recently been described. The phototoxicity of KillerRed exceeds that of EGFP by at least 1,000-fold, making it the first fully genetically encoded photosensitizer. KillerRed opens up new possibilities for precise light-induced cell killing and target protein inactivation. Because KillerRed is encoded by a gene, it can be expressed in a spatially and temporally regulated manner, under a chosen promoter, and fused with the desired protein of interest or localization signal. Here we provide a protocol for target protein inactivation in cell culture using KillerRed. As KillerRed is a new tool, the protocol focuses on aspects that will allow users to maximize the potential of this protein, guiding the design of chimeric constructs, recommended control experiments and preferred illumination parameters. The protocol, which describes target protein visualization and subsequent inactivation, is a 2- or 3-d procedure.

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Figure 1: Spectral characteristics of KillerRed.
Figure 2: Potential applications of KillerRed.
Figure 3: Light-induced killing of HeLa cell expressing mitochondrially targeted KillerRed.
Figure 4: Light-induced killing of HeLa cell expressing membrane-targeted KillerRed.
Figure 5: KillerRed-mediated CALI of PLC δ1 PH domain.

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This work was supported by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI 55005618), molecular and cell biology program RAS and EC FP-6 integrated project LSHG-CT-2003-503259. D.M.C. is supported by grants of the president of Russian Federation MK-8236.2006.4 and Russian Science Support Foundation.

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Correspondence to Konstantin A Lukyanov.

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K.A.L. and D.M.C. have a pending patent application on KillerRed uses.

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Bulina, M., Lukyanov, K., Britanova, O. et al. Chromophore-assisted light inactivation (CALI) using the phototoxic fluorescent protein KillerRed. Nat Protoc 1, 947–953 (2006).

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