A palette of fluorescent proteins optimized for diverse cellular environments

Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 9:6:7670. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8670.


To perform quantitative live cell imaging, investigators require fluorescent reporters that accurately report protein localization and levels, while minimally perturbing the cell. Yet, within the biochemically distinct environments of cellular organelles, popular fluorescent proteins (FPs), including EGFP, can be unreliable for quantitative imaging, resulting in the underestimation of protein levels and incorrect localization. Specifically, within the secretory pathway, significant populations of FPs misfold and fail to fluoresce due to non-native disulphide bond formation. Furthermore, transmembrane FP-fusion constructs can disrupt organelle architecture due to oligomerizing tendencies of numerous common FPs. Here, we describe a powerful set of bright and inert FPs optimized for use in multiple cellular compartments, especially oxidizing environments and biological membranes. Also, we provide new insights into the use of red FPs in the secretory pathway. Our monomeric 'oxFPs' finally resolve long-standing, underappreciated and important problems of cell biology and should be useful for a number of applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Dogs
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Red Fluorescent Protein
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • yellow fluorescent protein, Bacteria
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins