Fluorescence complementation: an emerging tool for biological research

Trends Biotechnol. 2008 Nov;26(11):622-30. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2008.07.006. Epub 2008 Sep 17.


Numerous technologies based on utilizing fluorescent proteins have been developed for biological research, and fluorescence complementation (FC) is a recent application for visualization of molecular events in living cells and organisms. Currently, ten fluorescent proteins have been demonstrated to support FC. Over the past five years, FC-based technologies have been developed to visualize a variety of molecular events, such as protein-protein interactions, post-translational modifications, protein folding, conformational changes, RNA-protein interactions, mRNA localization and DNA hybridization. In addition, FC has also been used for drug discovery. These applications are providing fascinating insights into many biological processes. Here, we review the principles and applications of FC technologies, discuss their current challenges and examine prospects for future advances.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / analysis
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / trends
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins