Data storage based on photochromic and photoconvertible fluorescent proteins

J Biotechnol. 2010 Sep 15;149(4):289-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2010.04.001. Epub 2010 Apr 21.


The recent discovery of photoconvertible and photoswitchable fluorescent proteins (PCFPs and RSFPs, respectively) that can undergo photoinduced changes of their absorption/emission spectra opened new research possibilities in subdiffraction microscopy and optical data storage. Here we demonstrate the proof-of-principle for read only and rewritable data storage both in 2D and 3D, using PCFPs and RSFPs. The irreversible burning of information was achieved by photoconverting from green to red defined areas in a layer of the PCFP Kaede. Data were also written and erased several times in layers of the photochromic fluorescent protein Dronpa. Using IrisFP, which combines the properties of PCFPs and RSFPs, we performed the first encoding of data in four colours using only one type of fluorescent protein. Finally, three-dimensional optical data storage was demonstrated using three mutants of EosFP (d1EosFP, mEosFP and IrisFP) in their crystalline form. Two-photon excitation allowed the precise addressing of regions of interest (ROIs) within the three-dimensional crystalline matrix without excitation of out-of-focus optical planes. Hence, this contribution highlights several data storage schemes based on the remarkable properties of PCFPs/RSFPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electronics / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Photochemistry / methods*


  • Luminescent Proteins