Enhanced EGFP fluorescence emission in presence of PEG aqueous solutions and PIB1000-PEG6000-PIB1000 copolymer vesicles

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:329087. doi: 10.1155/2013/329087. Epub 2013 Jul 10.


An EGFP construct interacting with the PIB1000-PEG6000-PIB1000 vesicles surface reported a ~2-fold fluorescence emission enhancement. Because of the constructs nature with the amphiphilic peptide inserted into the PIB core, EGFP is expected to experience a "pure" PEG environment. To unravel this phenomenon PEG/water solutions at different molecular weights and concentrations were used. Already at ~1:10 protein/PEG molar ratio the increase in fluorescence emission is observed reaching a plateau correlating with the PEG molecular weight. Parallel experiments in presence of glycerol aqueous solutions did show a slight fluorescence enhancement however starting at much higher concentrations. Molecular dynamics simulations of EGFP in neat water, glycerol, and PEG aqueous solutions were performed showing that PEG molecules tend to "wrap" the protein creating a microenvironment where the local PEG concentration is higher compared to its bulk concentration. Because the fluorescent emission can be perturbed by the refractive index surrounding the protein, the clustering of PEG molecules induces an enhanced fluorescence emission already at extremely low concentrations. These findings can be important when related to the use of EGFP as reported in molecular biology experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Fluorescence
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Scyphozoa / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Peptides
  • Polymers
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Water
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols