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Glowing Fish & Green Fluorescent Proteins

Glowing Fish & Green Fluorescent Proteins

First discovered in 1665 by Robert Hooke, the cells are the basic unit of life. Well, we all know that!

Also, we know about the various advancements in theories and information about these units and other micro-organisms, which got discovered with time.

Yet, there is a lot more to know about the mysterious nature.

One aspect which brought a revolution to the research of micro-organisms was the discovery of Green Fluorescent Proteins (GFPs).

Getting discovered first in 1961 by Osamu Shimomura and Frank Johnson, the GFPs are now extensively used as markers and tracers in studying micro-organisms.

Marine animals have a fascinating mechanism of action. Hence, GFPs got first found in Aequorea Victoria or Crystal Jelly, a species of jellyfish that is transparent.

The most amusing part is that the fish glows, and that is because of the presence of a protein consisting of a long chain of amino acids, Aequorin. It appears greenish under sunlight but turns fluorescent green under ultraviolet (UV) light.

Hence, the protein is named Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).

Jellyfish have always provided something to man-kind. For example, there is another species that helps to accelerate the wound-healing process.

If we see with an eagle’s eye, fluorescence is usually present in aquatic organisms, helping to attract mates, find prey, and protect themselves. However, the discovery of GFP stands tall as a support to the research of biological systems at countless times and is continuously helping the researchers to grow.

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What is new with GFPs?

Today, GFPs help with the detailed study of the plasma membrane, Golgi apparatus, nucleus & endoplasmic reticulum. Also, the study of bacterias, various functions & organization of systems in the body, different protein interactions & fusions, and many more.

It also helps in multicolour labelling, easing the examining process of gene expression, DNA replication, protein translation, signal transduction, and imagining organisms.

It also helps to monitor the efficiency of gene transfer in transgenic animals and embryos.

Hence, GFPs being called the agents of scientists get justified, with just oxygen and an energy source as requirements.

Similar fluorescent proteins are discovered but get dominated by GFPs with 480-520 nm, such as CFPs (Cyan Fluorescent Proteins) & YFPs (Yellow Fluorescent Proteins), which led to enjoy free-hand in the areas such as cellular imaging and detection.

For example, an upgraded version of Yellow Fluorescent Protein (YFP), called Venus, with improved folding properties, enables fluorescent labeling and measurements in brain slices that were not possible before.

Even for Corona Virus, GFPs are bracing the researchers in getting a vaccine or a solution to it.

It is getting used in imaging the monolayers to visualize & examine the transfection & redistribution in the process every 24 hours.

Also, to develop a cell-cell fusion assay, based on co-transfection of constructs expressing SARS-CoV-2 S, with variants including Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in cells.


Nature is mysterious and can show up anything new & fascinating to the world, in favour or not.

With the hope of the best solution soon, undoubtedly, GFPs have played handy for the researchers and scientists so far and are continuing to light the knowledge lamp with their fluorescence.

Stay tuned to know more absorbing scientific and nature facts.

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