Fluorescent proteins as light-inducible photochemical partners

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2010 Oct 28;9(10):1301-6. doi: 10.1039/c0pp00114g. Epub 2010 Jul 30.


Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and other related fluorescent proteins are generally used as genetically encoded, chemically inert labels in vivo. This review focuses on the emerging application of fluorescent proteins as light-inducible intracellular photochemical partners. The first example of a chemically active GFP-like protein was the phototoxic red fluorescent protein KillerRed, which can be used for precise light-induced killing of cells, protein inactivation, and studying reactive oxygen species signaling in different cellular compartments. Moreover, recent studies revealed that various GFPs can act as light-induced electron donors in photochemical reactions with biologically relevant electron acceptors. These findings have important implications for practical uses of fluorescent proteins as well as for our understanding of the evolution and biology of this protein family.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytochromes / chemistry
  • Electron Transport
  • Electrons
  • Flavins / chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Light*
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / toxicity
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Protein Engineering
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Cytochromes
  • Flavins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • killer red protein, Anthomedusae
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins