Fluorescent proteins and their use in marine biosciences, biotechnology, and proteomics

Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2007 May-Jun;9(3):305-28. doi: 10.1007/s10126-006-7145-7. Epub 2007 Mar 19.


This review explores the field of fluorescent proteins (FPs) from the perspective of their marine origins and their applications in marine biotechnology and proteomics. FPs occur in hydrozoan, anthozoan, and copepodan species, and possibly in other metazoan niches as well. Many FPs exhibit unique photophysical and photochemical properties that are the source of exciting research opportunities and technological development. Wild-type FPs can be enhanced by mutagenetic modifications leading to variants with optimized fluorescence and new functionalities. Paradoxically, the benefits from ocean-derived FPs have been realized, first and foremost, for terrestrial organisms. In recent years, however, FPs have also made inroads into aquatic biosciences, primarily as genetically encoded fluorescent fusion tags for optical marking and tracking of proteins, organelles, and cells. Examples of FPs and applications summarized here testify to growing utilization of FP-based platform technologies in basic and applied biology of aquatic organisms. Hydra, sea squirt, zebrafish, striped bass, rainbow trout, salmonids, and various mussels are only a few of numerous instances where FPs have been used to address questions relevant to evolutionary and developmental research and aquaculture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Fluorescence
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Marine Biology / methods*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Proteomics / methods*


  • Luminescent Proteins