Biophysical characterization of natural and mutant fluorescent proteins cloned from zooxanthellate corals.
ABSTRACT Two novel colored fluorescent proteins were cloned and biophysically characterized from zooxanthellate corals (Anthozoa). A cyan fluorescent protein derived from the coral Montastrea cavernosa (mcCFP) is a trimeric complex with strong blue-shifted excitation and emission maxima at 432 and 477 nm, respectively. The native complex has a fluorescence lifetime of 2.66+/-0.01 ns and an inferred absolute quantum yield of 0.385. The spectroscopic properties of a green fluorescent protein cloned from Meandrina meandrites (mmGFP) resemble the commercially available GFP derived originally from the hydrozoan Aequorea victoria (avGFP). mmGFP is a monomeric protein with an excitation maximum at 398 nm and an emission maximum at 505 nm, a fluorescence lifetime of 3.10+/-0.01 ns and an absolute quantum yield of 0.645. Sequence homology with avGFP and the red fluorescent protein (DsRed) indicates that the proteins adopt the classic beta-barrel configuration with 11 beta-strands. The three amino acid residues that comprise the chromophore are QYG for mcCFP and TYG for mmGFP, compared with SYG for avGFP. A single point mutation, Ser-110 to Asn, was introduced into mmGFP by random mutagenesis. Denaturation and refolding experiments showed that the mutant has reduced aggregation, increased solubility and more efficient refolding relative to the wild type. Time-resolved emission lifetimes and anisotropies suggest that the electronic structure of the chromophore is highly dependent on the protonation state of adjoining residues.
Article: Identification and in vivo characterization of NvFP-7R, a developmentally regulated red fluorescent protein of Nematostella vectensis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In recent years, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis has emerged as a critical model organism for comparative genomics and developmental biology. Although Nematostella is a member of the anthozoan cnidarians (known for producing an abundance of diverse fluorescent proteins (FPs)), endogenous patterns of Nematostella fluorescence have not been described and putative FPs encoded by the genome have not been characterized. We described the spatiotemporal expression of endogenous red fluorescence during Nematostella development. Spatially, there are two patterns of red fluorescence, both restricted to the oral endoderm in developing polyps. One pattern is found in long fluorescent domains associated with the eight mesenteries and the other is found in short fluorescent domains situated between tentacles. Temporally, the long domains appear simultaneously at the 12-tentacle stage. In contrast, the short domains arise progressively between the 12- and 16-tentacle stage. To determine the source of the red fluorescence, we used bioinformatic approaches to identify all possible putative Nematostella FPs and a Drosophila S2 cell culture assay to validate NvFP-7R, a novel red fluorescent protein. We report that both the mRNA expression pattern and spectral signature of purified NvFP-7R closely match that of the endogenous red fluorescence. Strikingly, the red fluorescent pattern of NvFP-7R exhibits asymmetric expression along the directive axis, indicating that the nvfp-7r locus senses the positional information of the body plan. At the tissue level, NvFP-7R exhibits an unexpected subcellular localization and a complex complementary expression pattern in apposed epithelia sheets comprising each endodermal mesentery. These experiments not only identify NvFP-7R as a novel red fluorescent protein that could be employed as a research tool; they also uncover an unexpected spatio-temporal complexity of gene expression in an adult cnidarian. Perhaps most importantly, our results define Nematostella as a new model organism for understanding the biological function of fluorescent proteins in vivo.PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(7):e11807. · 4.09 Impact Factor