The dynamic microbe: green fluorescent protein brings bacteria to light
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The demonstration that the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria required no jellyfish-specific cofactors and could be expressed as a fluorescent protein in heterologous hosts including both prokaryotes and eukaryotes sparked the development of GFP as one of the most common reporters in use today. Over the past several years, the utility of GFP as a reporter has been optimized through the isolation and engineering of variants with increased folding rates, different in vivo stabilities and colour variants with altered excitation and emission spectral properties. One of the great utilities of GFP is as a probe for characterizing spatial and temporal dynamics of gene expression, protein localization and protein-protein interactions in living cells. The innovative application of GFP as a reporter in bacteria has made a significant contribution to microbial cell biology. This review will highlight recent studies that demonstrate the potential of GFP for real-time analysis of gene expression, protein localization and the dynamics of signalling transduction pathways through protein-protein interactions.
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