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Proceedings Paper

Evaluating and improving the photostability of fluorescent proteins
Author(s): Nathan C. Shaner; Michael Z. Lin; Michael R. McKeown; Paul A. Steinbach; Kristin L. Hazelwood; Michael W. Davidson; Roger Y. Tsien
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Paper Abstract

Fluorescent proteins are the most common and versatile class of genetically encoded optical probes. While structure-guided rational design and directed evolution approaches have largely overcome early problems such as oligomerization, poor folding at physiological temperatures, and availability of wavelengths suitable for multi-color imaging, nearly all fluorescent proteins have yet to be fully optimized. We have developed novel methods for evaluating the current generation of fluorescent proteins and improving their remaining suboptimal properties. Little is yet known about the mechanisms responsible for photobleaching of fluorescent proteins, and inadequate photostability is a chief complaint among end users. In order to compare the performance of fluorescent proteins across the visual spectrum, we have standardized a method used to measure photostability in live cells under both widefield and confocal laser illumination. This method has allowed us to evaluate a large number of commonly used fluorescent proteins, and has uncovered surprisingly complex and unpredictable behaviors in many of these proteins. We have also developed novel methods for selecting explicitly for high photostability during the directed evolution process, leading to the development of highly improved monomeric orange and red fluorescent proteins. These proteins, most notably our photostable derivative of TagRFP, have remarkably high photostability and have proven useful as fusion tags for long-term imaging. Our methods should be applicable to any of the large number of fluorescent proteins still in need of improved photostability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 February 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7191, Fluorescence In Vivo Imaging Based on Genetically Engineered Probes: From Living Cells to Whole Body Imaging IV, 719105 (16 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.814684
Show Author Affiliations
Nathan C. Shaner, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (United States)
Michael Z. Lin, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Michael R. McKeown, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Paul A. Steinbach, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Kristin L. Hazelwood, Florida State Univ. (United States)
Michael W. Davidson, Florida State Univ. (United States)
Roger Y. Tsien, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7191:
Fluorescence In Vivo Imaging Based on Genetically Engineered Probes: From Living Cells to Whole Body Imaging IV
Alexander P. Savitsky; Yingxiao Wang, Editor(s)

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