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J Biomed Opt. 2008 May-Jun;13(3):031202. doi: 10.1117/1.2939093.

Fluorescent protein tools for studying protein dynamics in living cells: a review.

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  • 1University of Virginia Health System, Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology, PO Box 800578, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0578, USA.


We have witnessed remarkable advances over the past decade in the application of optical techniques to visualize the genetically encoded fluorescent proteins (FPs) in living systems. The imaging of the FPs inside living cells has become an essential tool for studies of cell biology and physiology. FPs are now available that span the visible spectrum from deep blue to deep red, providing a wide choice of genetically encoded fluorescent markers. Furthermore, some FPs have been identified that have unusual characteristics that make them useful reporters of the dynamic behaviors of proteins inside cells. These additions to the FP toolbox are now being used for some very innovative live-cell imaging applications. Here, we will highlight the characteristics and uses of a few of these exceptional probes. Many different optical methods can be combined with the FPs from marine organisms to provide quantitative measurements in living systems.

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