Monomeric fluorescent timers that change color from blue to red report on cellular trafficking.

Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.
Nature Chemical Biology (Impact Factor: 13.22). 02/2009; 5(2):118-26. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.138
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Based on the mechanism for chromophore formation in red fluorescent proteins, we developed three mCherry-derived monomeric variants, called fluorescent timers (FTs), that change their fluorescence from the blue to red over time. These variants exhibit distinctive fast, medium and slow blue-to-red chromophore maturation rates that depend on the temperature. At 37 degrees C, the maxima of the blue fluorescence are observed at 0.25, 1.2 and 9.8 h for the purified fast-FT, medium-FT and slow-FT, respectively. The half-maxima of the red fluorescence are reached at 7.1, 3.9 and 28 h, respectively. The FTs show similar timing behavior in bacteria, insect and mammalian cells. Medium-FT allowed for tracking of the intracellular dynamics of the lysosome-associated membrane protein type 2A (LAMP-2A) and determination of its age in the targeted compartments. The results indicate that LAMP-2A transport through the plasma membrane and early or recycling endosomes to lysosomes is a major pathway for LAMP-2A trafficking.

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