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Biochem J. Jul 15, 2003; 373(Pt 2): 403–408.
PMCID: PMC1223499

A colourless green fluorescent protein homologue from the non-fluorescent hydromedusa Aequorea coerulescens and its fluorescent mutants.

Abstract

We have cloned an unusual colourless green fluorescent protein (GFP)-like protein from Aequorea coerulescens (acGFPL). The A. coerulescens specimens displayed blue (not green) luminescence, and no fluorescence was detected in these medusae. Escherichia coli expressing wild-type acGFPL showed neither fluorescence nor visible coloration. Random mutagenesis generated green fluorescent mutants of acGFPL, with the strongest emitters found to contain an Glu(222)-->Gly (E222G) substitution, which removed the evolutionarily invariant Glu(222). Re-introduction of Glu(222) into the most fluorescent random mutant, named aceGFP, converted it into a colourless protein. This colourless aceGFP-G222E protein demonstrated a novel type of UV-induced photoconversion, from an immature non-fluorescent form into a green fluorescent form. Fluorescent aceGFP may be a useful biological tool, as it was able to be expressed in a number of mammalian cell lines. Furthermore, expression of a fusion protein of 'humanized' aceGFP and beta-actin produced a fluorescent pattern consistent with actin distribution in mammalian cells.

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