A novel far-red bimolecular fluorescence complementation system that allows for efficient visualization of protein interactions under physiological conditions

Biosens Bioelectron. 2009 Sep 15;25(1):234-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Jun 10.


Fluorescent protein (FP) has enabled the analysis of biomolecular interactions in living cells, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) represents one of the newly developed imaging technologies to directly visualize protein-protein interactions in living cells. Although 10 different FPs that cover a broad range of spectra have been demonstrated to support BiFC, only Cerulean (cyan FP variant), Citrine and Venus (yellow FP variants)-based BiFC systems can be used under 37 degrees C physiological temperature. The sensitivity of two mRFP-based red BiFC systems to higher temperatures (i.e., 37 degrees C) limits their applications in most mammalian cell-based studies. Here we report that mLumin, a newly isolated far-red fluorescent protein variant of mKate with an emission maximum of 621 nm, enables BiFC analysis of protein-protein interactions at 37 degrees C in living mammalian cells. Furthermore, the combination of mLumin with Cerulean- and Venus-based BiFC systems allows for simultaneous visualization of three pairs of protein-protein interactions in the same cell. The mLumin-based BiFC system will facilitate simultaneous visualization of multiple protein-protein interactions in living cells and offer the potential to visualize protein-protein interactions in living animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Fluorescence
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / analysis*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*


  • Luminescent Proteins