Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Brighter fluorescent proteins could improve biotechnology applications

Green fluorescent proteins (GFP's) and their various relatives with other colors have become important tools for tracking gene expression and monitoring protein-protein interactions, as well as other applications. A recent study in Scientific Reports could improve our understanding of how GFP's can be brighter and therefore improve the signal-to-noise in these applications.

GFP structure
by Richard Wheeler
The results of this study are found in the article entitled: 'Spectral and structural comparison between bright and dim green fluorescent proteins in Amphioxus'. This paper is a detailed analysis of the GFP's in Amphioxus, a small marine invertebrate also know as lancelets. This animal has two forms of GFP, one which is very bright, in part due to 100% quantum efficiency and one that has low (0.1%) quantum efficiency. The comparison of these two GFP's showed that in the bright GFP the interaction of 3 amino acids yielded a change in protein conformation and increased stability which are believed to improve GFP brightness. The authors believe that by understanding the relationship between structural environment and the level of brightness current FP's can be made brighter thus improving their performance in a wide variety of biotechnology applications.

Many of the GFP biotechnology applications can be performed on microplate readers like those from BMG LABTECH!

Original article: E.K. Bomati, et al, Spectral and structural comparison between bright and dim green fluorescent proteins in AmphioxusScientific Reports, 2014; 4

Some information for this post was taken from the Science Daily article: Behind a marine creature's bright green fluorescent glow