Jun 03, 2019 12:15 AM EDT
Biophysics collaborators from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and colleagues from France and Germany have designed a new fluorescent protein. This small and relatively stable protein, when subjected to high temperatures, glow when irradiated with ultraviolet and blue light. The researchers hypothesized that this protein is a potential in fluorescence microscopy and their findings were published in the journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. Fluorescence microscopy is widely applied in organ development, infectious diseases, and cancer researches.
Fluorescence microscopy is a technique based on induced luminescence which is also applied in the study of living tissues. Light is emitted at different wavelengths by some proteins when exposed to laser radiation at a particular wavelength. A special microscope analyzes this induced "glow." Proteins are appended to fluorescent proteins via genetic engineering to make the former visible to the microscope and be observable. The discovery of fluorescence microscopy has entailed an award of one Nobel Prize to its discoverer and another scientist as well for improving the accuracy of the method.
There are several flaws regarding the fluorescent proteins used because of their vulnerability to heat, their bulkiness, and they only glow in the presence of oxygen.
"For one thing, our protein is more thermostable than its analogs: It only denaturates at 68 degrees Celsius," said the paper's lead author Vera Nazarenko from the MIPT Laboratory of Structural Analysis and Engineering of Membrane Systems. "It is also miniature, while most of the currently used fluorescent proteins are rather bulky. On top of that, it can emit light in the absence of oxygen."
This protein was originally identified in the cells of a thermophilic bacterium that resides in environments with high temperature. The DNA sequence that has fluorescent properties were bioengineered to make a larger molecule.
"By introducing the gene that encodes the protein into the cells of another bacterium, Escherichia coli, the team turned it into a factory mass-producing the fluorescent protein with unique properties," according to Eureka Alert.
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