A substantial increase in the speed of the optical response of genetically encoded fluorescent protein voltage sensors (FP voltage sensors) was achieved by using the voltage-sensing phosphatase genes of Nematostella vectensis and Danio rerio. A potential N. vectensis voltage-sensing phosphatase was identified in silico. The voltage-sensing domain (S1-S4) of the N. vectensis homolog was used to create an FP voltage sensor called Nema. By replacing the phosphatase with a cerulean/citrine FRET pair, a new FP voltage sensor was synthesized with fast off kinetics (Tau(off)<5ms). However, the signal was small (ΔF/F=0.4%/200mV). FP voltage sensors using the D. rerio voltage-sensing phosphatase homolog, designated Zahra and Zahra 2, exhibited fast on and off kinetics within 2ms of the time constants observed with the organic voltage-sensitive dye, di4-ANEPPS. Mutagenesis of the S4 region of the Danio FP voltage sensor shifted the voltage dependence to more negative potentials but did not noticeably affect the kinetics of the optical signal.
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