A linked series of laboratory exercises in molecular biology utilizing bioinformatics and GFP

Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2011 Nov-Dec;39(6):448-56. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20554.


Molecular biologists commonly use bioinformatics to map and analyze DNA and protein sequences and to align different DNA and protein sequences for comparison. Additionally, biologists can create and view 3D models of protein structures to further understand intramolecular interactions. The primary goal of this 10-week laboratory was to introduce the importance of bioinformatics in molecular biology. Students employed multiprimer, site-directed mutagenesis to create variant colors from a plasmid expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP). Isolated mutant plasmid from Escherichia coli showing changes in fluorescence were sequenced. Students used sequence alignment tools, protein translator tools, protein modeling, and visualization to analyze the potential effect of their mutations within the protein structure. This laboratory linked molecular techniques and bioinformatics to promote and expand the understanding of experimental results in an upper-level undergraduate laboratory course.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / education*
  • Education, Professional / methods*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Laboratories*
  • Molecular Biology / education*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Problem-Based Learning*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins