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Methods Cell Biol. 2008;85:45-61.

Fluorescent proteins for photoactivation experiments.

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  • 1Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The discoveries, improvements, and alterations of fluorescent protein (FP) variants are having a profound impact on the ability of investigators to observe and quantify the behavior of proteins within cells and organisms. Among the most promising of FPs are photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs). Invisible at the imaging wavelength until activated by irradiation at a different wavelength, PA-FPs allow the controlled highlighting of distinct molecular populations within the cell. This chapter introduces the different types of PA-FPs and discusses their use for monitoring protein movement, protein turnover, protein interactions, and high-resolution protein localization.

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