Expanded Fluorescent Proteins Now Possible

NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve identified the crystal structures of two key fluorescent proteins, possibly leading to an expanded fluorescent protein palette.

The researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York determined the crystal structures one red and one blue protein used to “light up” molecules in cells.

That finding, they said, has allowed them to propose a chemical mechanism by which the red color in fluorescent proteins is formed from blue. With that information, the researchers said they have the first road map for rationally designing new and differently colored fluorescent proteins to illuminate the structures and processes in living cells.

Since researchers can now follow only two or three proteins at a time, an expanded fluorescent protein palette would be a big help.

“To understand many cellular functions, you would like to follow dozens of different proteins, so the more colors we can develop, the better,” Professor Steven Almo, a study co-author said.

The research, led by Associate Professor Vladislav Verkhusha, appears in the journal Chemistry & Biology.

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