Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Hunting elusive green fluorescent proteins
Chemistry World ^ | 26 May 2011 | Russell Johnson

Posted on 06/01/2011 3:27:10 PM PDT by neverdem

After a 40 year hunt, scientists have tracked down the genes responsible for fluorescent proteins in Obelia medusa - a type of jellyfish. Knowledge of these genes could lead to new fluorescent protein tags for use in cell biology. 

The discovery of the gene encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria paved the way for GFP to be introduced as a fluorescent tag in cell biology. It is used to track the positions and interactions of proteins in cells, and led to the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2008. Fluorescent proteins similar to GFP were discovered in Obelia medusa during biochemical studies in the 1970s; however, despite repeated attempts, nobody was able to clone the gene responsible for making these proteins. 

Now, Mikhail Matz and his team at the University of Texas at Austin, US, have solved the problem by taking a different approach. Obelia has two main stages of life, a polyp attached to a surface and a free swimming jellyfish. Previous attempts to identify the genes responsible for the fluorescent proteins focused on the polyp. 'The trick this time was to use the jellyfish as the starting point,' explains Matz. To their surprise, the team discovered not one, but three different fluorescent protein colours: green, cyan and yellow. This is the first time that three different colours of fluorescent protein have been found in an organism outside of the Anthozoa (a class of organisms that includes sea anemones and corals). 

Obelia medusa jellyfish

Three different fluorescent protein colours - green, cyan and yellow - were discovered in the Obelia medusa jellyfish

Matz and the team also found a variety of fluorescent colours and proteins in non-bioluminescent parts of the jellyfish. This is a point that Marc Zimmer, an expert in fluorescent proteins at Connecticut College, US, says is important. 'I am always amazed that we still don't know the function of GFP-like proteins. This work is particularly interesting since it reports on green, cyan and yellow FPs cloned from Obelia, where they are located in both bioluminescent and non-bioluminescent cells, confirming prior suggestions that their function may be biochemical and does not always involve fluorescence.' 

Knowledge of the gene encoding GFP allowed it to be introduced as a fluorescent reporter in a wide variety of cell biology experiments. Now that the equivalent genes have been discovered in Obelia,  scientists will be able to discover whether these GFP homologs could make similarly useful tools.     


Link to journal article

Multi-colored homologs of the green fluorescent protein from hydromedusa Obelia sp.
Galina V. Aglyamova, Marguerite E. Hunt, Chintan K. Modi and Mikhail V. Matz, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2011
DOI: 10.1039/c1pp05068k

Also of interest

Nobel medal

Green fluorescent protein takes Nobel Prize

08 October 2008

Chalfie, Shimomura and Tsien share 2008 chemistry award

A glowing green Nobel

A glowing green Nobel

The molecule that revolutionised and illuminated cell biology started with a jellyfish. Lewis Brindley tells the story of this year's Nobel prize for chemistry

Jellyfish Aequorea victoria

Instant insight: Lighting up biology

04 September 2009

Jellyfish have changed science. Marc Zimmer sheds light on GFP and the research behind 2008's Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Fluorescent proteins in button polyps are well characterised

Glowing protein in 'animal photosynthesis'

26 April 2009

Green fluorescent marker protein found in exotic marine animals can convert light into chemical energy

Three types of Rainbow proteins

Rainbow makers

Tony Campbell's fascination with 'living light' - the bioluminescence responsible for the glowing colours of fireflies, glow-worms and jelly fish - has led him to develop a range o...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: biochemistry; gfp

1 posted on 06/01/2011 3:27:13 PM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Has anyone looked inside my refrigerator?

2 posted on 06/01/2011 4:39:29 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
For Those With Diabetes, Older Drugs Are Often Best

Does Disease Cause Autocracy?

Cellphone Radiation May Cause Cancer, Advisory Panel Says

Low-carb, higher-fat diets add no arterial health risks to obese people seeking to lose weight

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

3 posted on 06/01/2011 4:43:22 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem; DvdMom; grey_whiskers; Ladysmith; Roos_Girl; Silentgypsy; conservative cat; ...


4 posted on 06/01/2011 4:51:48 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson