NeurophotonicsRed fluorescent proteins (RFPs) and RFP-based biosensors for neuronal imaging applications
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The inherent advantages of red-shifted fluorescent proteins and fluorescent protein-based biosensors for the study of signaling processes in neurons and other tissues have motivated the development of a plethora of new tools. Relative to green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) and other blue-shifted alternatives, red fluorescent proteins (RFPs) provide the inherent advantages of lower phototoxicity, lower autofluorescence, and deeper tissue penetration associated with longer wavelength excitation light. All other factors being the same, the multiple benefits of using RFPs make these tools seemingly ideal candidates for use in neurons and, ultimately, the brain. However, for many applications, the practical utility of RFPs still falls short of the preferred GFPs. We present an overview of RFPs and RFP-based biosensors, with an emphasis on their reported applications in neuroscience.