Cis-trans photoisomerization of fluorescent-protein chromophores.
ABSTRACT Photochromic variants of fluorescent proteins are opening the way to a number of opportunities for high-sensitivity regioselective studies in the cellular environment and may even lead to applications in information and communication technology. Yet, the detailed photophysical processes at the basis of photoswitching have not been fully clarified. In this paper, we used synthetic FP chromophores to clarify the photophysical processes associated with the photochromic behavior. In particular, we investigated the spectral modification of synthetic chromophore analogues of wild-type green fluorescent protein (GFP), Y66F GFP (BFPF), and Y66W GFP (CFP) upon irradiation in solutions of different polarities. We found that the cis-trans photoisomerization mechanism can be induced in all the chromophores. The structural assignments were carried out both by NMR measurements and DFT calculations. Remarkably, we determined for the first time the spectra of neutral trans isomers in different solvents. Finally, we calculated the photoconversion quantum yields by absorption measurements under continuous illumination at different times and by a nanosecond laser-flash photolysis method. Our results indicate that cis-trans photoisomerization is a general mechanism of FP chromophores whose efficiency is modulated by the detailed mutant-specific protein environment.
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ABSTRACT: The photoswitching behaviour of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) chromophore and its analogs opens up exciting horizons for the engineering and development of molecular devices for high sensitivity in vivo studies. In this work we present the synthesis and photophysical study of four GFP chromophore analogs belonging to butenolide and pyrrolinone classes. These chromophores possess an intriguing photoinduced cis-trans isomerization mechanism. Stereochemical structural assignment was unambiguously performed by 1D Nuclear Overhauser Effect NMR measurements. The spectroscopic properties of both cis and trans isomers were studied, and photoconversion quantum yield for cis-trans isomerization was assessed to be in the 0.1-0.4 range. Finally, the 3J(C,H) coupling constant in the 13C-C=C-H motif was in excellent agreement with theoretical DFT calculations, thus providing a further confirmation of cis-trans photoisomerization of the structurally analog GFP chromophore.Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism 08/2011; 40(11):1205-14. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cyan fluorescent proteins (CFP) derived from Aequorea victoria GFP, carrying a tryptophan-based chromophore, are widely used as FRET donors in live cell fluorescence imaging experiments. Recently, several CFP variants with near-ultimate photophysical performances were obtained through a mix of site-directed and large scale random mutagenesis. To understand the structural bases of these improvements, we have studied more specifically the consequences of the single-site T65S mutation. We find that all CFP variants carrying the T65S mutation not only display an increased fluorescence quantum yield and a simpler fluorescence emission decay, but also show an improved pH stability and strongly reduced reversible photoswitching reactions. Most prominently, the Cerulean-T65S variant reaches performances nearly equivalent to those of mTurquoise, with QY = 0.84, an almost pure single exponential fluorescence decay and an outstanding stability in the acid pH range (pK(1/2) = 3.6). From the detailed examination of crystallographic structures of different CFPs and GFPs, we conclude that these improvements stem from a shift in the thermodynamic balance between two well defined configurations of the residue 65 hydroxyl. These two configurations differ in their relative stabilization of a rigid chromophore, as well as in relaying the effects of Glu222 protonation at acid pHs. Our results suggest a simple method to greatly improve numerous FRET reporters used in cell imaging, and bring novel insights into the general structure-photophysics relationships of fluorescent proteins.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49149. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We describe the existing approaches to the synthesis of 5-arylidene-3,5-dihydro-4 H-imidazol-4-ones—model chromophores of fluorescent proteins and their nonnatural analogs. We discuss in detail the chemical (acid-base and redox reactions, cis-trans isomery, etc.) and spectral properties of the chromophores and the influence of substitutes and the environment. The study of synthetic chromophores allows for modeling of the photophysical characteristics of fluorescent proteins.Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 04/2012; 35(6):652-669. · 0.52 Impact Factor