Characterization and use of green fluorescent proteins from Renilla mulleri and Ptilosarcus guernyi for the human cell display of functional peptides

J Protein Chem. 2001 Aug;20(6):507-19. doi: 10.1023/a:1012514715338.


Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is useful as an intracellular scaffold for the display of random peptide libraries in yeast. GFPs with a different sequence from Aequorea victoria have recently been identified from Renilla mulleri and Ptilosarcus gurneyi. To examine these proteins as intracellular scaffolds for peptide display in human cells, we have determined the expression level of retrovirally delivered human codon-optimized versions in Jurkat-E acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells using fluorescence activated cell sorting and Western blots. Each wild type protein is expressed at 40% higher levels than A. victoria mutants optimized for maximum fluorescence. We have compared the secondary structure and stability of these GFPs with A. victoria GFP using circular dichroism (CD). All three GFPs essentially showed a perfect beta-strand conformation and their melting temperatures (Tm) are very similar, giving an experimental evidence of a similar overall structure. Folded Renilla GFP allows display of an influenza hemagglutinin epitope tag in several internal insertion sites, including one which is not permissive for such display in Aequorea GFP, giving greater flexibility in peptide display options. To test display of a functional peptide, we show that the SV-40 derived nuclear localization sequence PPKKKRKV, when inserted into two different potential loops, results in the complete localization of Renilla GFP to the nucleus of human A549 cells.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Circular Dichroism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cnidaria / chemistry*
  • DNA Primers
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA Primers
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins