Limited utility of blue fluorescent protein (BFP) in monitoring plant virus movement

Biochimie. 2002 Oct;84(10):997-1002. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9084(02)00007-x.


While the green fluorescent protein (GFP) is a routinely used marker gene in higher plants, there are only a few data concerning the use of blue fluorescent protein (BFP). These proteins together are used for dual colour tagging experiments in various biological systems; however, the benefits of this technique in plant virology have not been exploited yet. In this work, our aim was to determine whether the BFP is a suitable second marker in conjunction with GFP for following the progress of virus infection. Nicotiana clevelandii, N. benthamiana and N. tabacum cv. Xanthi-nc plants were infected with potato virus X vector carrying the GFP or the Y66H type BFP gene. While GFP was brightly fluorescent in all species, the fluorescence intensity of BFP varied widely, from the bright fluorescence observed in N. clevelandii to the absence of fluorescence in N. tabacum cv. Xanthi-nc. Since at even mild acidic pH BFP rapidly fades, the more acidic cytosol of N. tabacum could be responsible for impaired in vivo fluorescence. After infiltration of the infected leaves of N. clevelandii with pH 5 phosphate buffer, the fluorescence faded thus confirming this situation.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fluorescence
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Movement*
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Leaves / virology*
  • Plant Viruses / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tobacco / virology


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger
  • blue fluorescent protein, Aequorea victoria