A photoactivatable green-fluorescent protein from the phylum Ctenophora

Proc Biol Sci. 2010 Apr 22;277(1685):1155-60. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1774. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


Genes for the family of green-fluorescent proteins (GFPs) have been found in more than 100 species of animals, with some species containing six or more copies producing a variety of colours. Thus far, however, these species have all been within three phyla: Cnidaria, Arthropoda and Chordata. We have discovered GFP-type fluorescent proteins in the phylum Ctenophora, the comb jellies. The ctenophore proteins share the xYG chromophore motif of all other characterized GFP-type proteins. These proteins exhibit the uncommon property of reversible photoactivation, in which fluorescent emission becomes brighter upon exposure to light, then gradually decays to a non-fluorescent state. In addition to providing potentially useful optical probes with novel properties, finding a fluorescent protein in one of the earliest diverging metazoans adds further support to the possibility that these genes are likely to occur throughout animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Ctenophora / genetics
  • Ctenophora / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Luminescence
  • Phylogeny


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins