Yellow and Orange Fluorescent Proteins with Tryptophan-based Chromophores

ACS Chem Biol. 2017 Jul 21;12(7):1867-1873. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00337. Epub 2017 Jun 6.


Rapid development of new microscopy techniques exposed the need for genetically encoded fluorescent tags with special properties. Recent works demonstrated the potential of fluorescent proteins with tryptophan-based chromophores. We applied rational design and random mutagenesis to the monomeric red fluorescent protein FusionRed and found two groups of mutants carrying a tryptophan-based chromophore: with yellow (535 nm) or orange (565 nm) emission. On the basis of the properties of proteins, a model synthetic chromophore, and a computational modeling, we concluded that the presence of a ketone-containing chromophore in different isomeric forms can explain the observed yellow and orange phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Computer Simulation
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemical synthesis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ketones / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*
  • Tryptophan / chemistry*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ketones
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Tryptophan