The Molecular Properties and Applications of Anthozoa Fluorescent Proteins and Chromoproteins

Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Mar;22(3):289-96. doi: 10.1038/nbt943.


The green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and its fluorescent homologs from Anthozoa corals have become invaluable tools for in vivo imaging of cells and tissues. Despite spectral and chromophore diversity, about 100 cloned members of the GFP-like protein family possess common structural, biochemical and photophysical features. Anthozoa GFP-like proteins are available in colors and properties unlike those of A. victoria GFP variants and thus provide powerful new fluorophores for molecular labeling and intracellular detection. Although Anthozoa GFP-like proteins provide some advantages over GFP, they also have certain drawbacks, such as obligate oligomerization and slow or incomplete fluorescence maturation. In the past few years, effective approaches for eliminating some of these limitations have been described. In addition, several Anthozoa GFP-like proteins have been developed into novel imaging agents, such as monomeric red and dimeric far-red fluorescent proteins, fluorescent timers and photoconvertible fluorescent labels. Future studies on the structure of this diverse set of proteins will further enhance their use in animal tissues and as intracellular biosensors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthozoa / genetics
  • Anthozoa / metabolism*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer / methods*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering / methods*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins