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Introduction to Green Fluorescent Protein (gfp).

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Introduction to Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)

The green fluorescent protein (GFP) obtained from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria has become one of the most widely researched proteins in biochemistry and cell biology, In early 1960’s researcher named Osamu Shimomura set out to find the reason for this luminescence , after harvesting hundreds of  jellyfish he was successful in isolating and purifying a protein which in presence of calcium produced blue fluorescence which was named Aequorin. Shimomura observed strong green fluorescence under UV light, demonstrating that there was another fluorescent protein It was later determined that it was a companion protein for aequorin, now known as the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP).

                    The unique structure of GFP is made up of 238 amino acid, it is a 11 stranded beta barrel with alpha helix along the axis of cylinder, the chromophore is located on central helix at center of cylinder, the chromophore is composed of glycine, tyrosine and serine which undergo post translation modification to give conjugated chromophore, the barrel structure shields the chromophore from the aqueous environment this enabling it to absorb light and produce a light-emitting photon.

                Green fluorescent protein is widely used in medicine, molecular biology and cell biology, the fact that it does not require a cofactor has empowered the researchers to use it living systems to study cell dynamics, fusion of gfp with other protein does alter the function of other protein which is also an huge advantage, scientists have successfully modified gfp to produce various other coloured fluorescent protein which helps for differential fluorescence, apart from this they are used to understand protein interaction using FRET and are also used as biomarkers

               Green fluorescent protein has opened the door for live cell imaging and continued efforts in this field will enable us to produce fluorescent proteins which have improved photostability, brightness and emits in far red and near infrared.





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