Generation of monomeric reversibly switchable red fluorescent proteins for far-field fluorescence nanoscopy

Biophys J. 2008 Sep 15;95(6):2989-97. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.108.130146. Epub 2008 Jul 25.


Reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins (RSFPs) are GFP-like proteins that may be repeatedly switched by irradiation with light from a fluorescent to a nonfluorescent state, and vice versa. They can be utilized as genetically encodable probes and bear large potential for a wide array of applications, in particular for new protein tracking schemes and subdiffraction resolution microscopy. However, the currently described monomeric RSFPs emit only blue-green or green fluorescence; the spectral window for their use is thus rather limited. Using a semirational engineering approach based on the crystal structure of the monomeric nonswitchable red fluorescent protein mCherry, we generated rsCherry and rsCherryRev. These two novel red fluorescent RSFPs exhibit fluorescence emission maxima at approximately 610 nm. They display antagonistic switching modes, i.e., in rsCherry irradiation with yellow light induces the off-to-on transition and blue light the on-to-off transition, whereas in rsCherryRev the effects of the switching wavelengths are reversed. We demonstrate time-lapse live-cell subdiffraction microscopy by imaging rsCherryRev targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum utilizing the switching and localization of single molecules.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Color
  • Escherichia coli / cytology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Light
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • red fluorescent protein