Systematic characterization of maturation time of fluorescent proteins in living cells

Nat Methods. 2018 Jan;15(1):47-51. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4509. Epub 2017 Nov 20.


The slow maturation time of fluorescent proteins (FPs) limits the temporal accuracy of measurements of rapid processes such as gene expression dynamics and effectively reduces fluorescence signal in growing cells. We used high-precision time-lapse microscopy to characterize the maturation kinetics of 50 FPs that span the visible spectrum at two different temperatures in Escherichia coli cells. We identified fast-maturing FPs from this set that yielded the highest signal-to-noise ratio and temporal resolution in individual growing cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Fluorescence*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Red Fluorescent Protein
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*


  • Cyan Fluorescent Protein
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins