J Biophotonics 2011 Jun 14;4(6):377-90. Epub 2011 Feb 14.
National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton SO143ZH, UK.
Fluorescent proteins from the GFP family have become indispensable imaging tools in life sciences research. In recent years, a wide variety of these proteins were discovered in non-bioluminescent anthozoa. Some of them feature exciting new properties, including the possibility to change their fluorescence quantum yield and/or color by irradiating with light of specific wavelengths. These photoactivatable fluorescent proteins enable many interesting applications including pulse-chase experiments and super-resolution imaging. In this review, we discuss the development of advanced variants, using a structure-function based, molecular biophysics approach, of the photoactivatable fluorescent protein EosFP, which can be photoconverted from green to red fluorescence by ~400 nm light. A variety of applications are presented that demonstrate the versatility of these marker proteins in live-cell imaging.