We report an improved variant of mKeima, a monomeric long Stokes shift red fluorescent protein, hmKeima8.5. The increased intracellular brightness and large Stokes shift (∼180 nm) make it an excellent partner with teal fluorescent protein (mTFP1) for multiphoton, multicolor applications. Excitation of this pair by a single multiphoton excitation wavelength (MPE, 850 nm) yields well-separable emission peaks (∼120-nm separation). Using this pair, we measure homo- and hetero-oligomerization interactions in living cells via multiphoton excitation fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (MPE-FCS). Using tandem dimer proteins and small-molecule inducible dimerization domains, we demonstrate robust and quantitative detection of intracellular protein-protein interactions. We also use MPE-FCCS to detect drug-protein interactions in the intracellular environment using a Coumarin 343 (C343)-conjugated drug and hmKeima8.5 as a fluorescence pair. The mTFP1/hmKeima8.5 and C343/hmKeima8.5 combinations, together with our calibration constructs, provide a practical and broadly applicable toolbox for the investigation of molecular interactions in the cytoplasm of living cells.
© 2015 Guan et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).