GFP: from jellyfish to the Nobel prize and beyond

Chem Soc Rev. 2009 Oct;38(10):2823-32. doi: 10.1039/b904023d. Epub 2009 Jun 15.


On December 10, 2008 Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP". The path taken by this jellyfish protein to become one of the most useful tools in modern science and medicine is described. Osamu Shimomura painstakingly isolated GFP from hundreds of thousands of jellyfish, characterized the chromophore and elucidated the mechanism of Aequorean bioluminescence. Martin Chalfie expressed the protein in E. coli and C. elegans, and Roger Tsien developed a palette of fluorescent proteins that could be used in a myriad of applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nobel Prize
  • Photochemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins