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112205 - BE.342/442 Tuesday Topic Fluorescent Proteins...

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BE.342/442 Tuesday, November 22, 2005 Topic: Fluorescent Proteins Fluorescent proteins: biological paint Paint is a material, too. Particles such as quantum dots have nanoscale optical properties that give them color. Paint materials are usually inert: there are no complex dynamic changes that give them their color. However, some biological molecules can light up with “living colors.” Green fluorescent protein comes from jellyfish. Red fluorescent protein comes from coral Reporter Systems (www.clontech.com) has commercialized green fluorescent proteins and its vartiants. Some naturally occurring fluorescent proteins include Ptiloscarus GFP from the sea pen, Renilla RFP from the sea pansy, DsRED from anthozoa, and a range of other fluorescent proteins from bacteria, fungi, insects, squid, corals, fish, crustaceans, plankton, and other organisms! The highest concentrations of fluorescent organisms is in the band of the equator and the tropics, especially in coral reef. Unfortunately, coral reefs are endangered by the impacts of human activity. Green Fluorescent Protein Green fluorescent protein was originally isolated from Aequorea Victoria jellyfish from Puget Sound, WA. The protein was purified in 1974 by Movin and in 1979 by Ward and Cormier. The first cloning of a wild-type GFP gene was achieved in 1992 by Prasher at Woods Hole Marine Biology Lab, not far from here. Variants began to emerge in 1996 thanks to the work of Cormack, Tseun, and others. After 18 years of efforts to clone the wild-type gene, it took relatively little time to develop a variety of mutants. This often happens in science – activity greatly increases after the first steps are achieved.
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