The whither of bacteriophytochrome-based near-infrared fluorescent proteins: Insights from two-photon absorption spectroscopy

J Biophotonics. 2019 May;12(5):e201800353. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201800353. Epub 2019 Jan 6.


We present one- and two-photon-absorption fluorescence spectroscopic analysis of biliverdin (BV) chromophore-based single-domain near-infrared fluorescent proteins (iRFPs). The results of these studies are used to estimate the internal electric fields acting on BV inside iRFPs and quantify the electric dipole properties of this chromophore, defining the red shift of excitation and emission spectra of BV-based iRFPs. The iRFP studied in this work is shown to fit well the global diagram of the red-shift tunability of currently available BV-based iRFPs as dictated by the quadratic Stark effect, suggesting the existence of the lower bound for the strongest red shifts attainable within this family of fluorescent proteins. The absolute value of the two-photon absorption (TPA) cross section of a fluorescent calcium sensor based on the studied iRFP is found to be significantly larger than the TPA cross sections of other widely used genetically encodable fluorescent calcium sensors.

Keywords: fluorescence bioimaging; near-infrared fluorescent proteins; two-photon imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biliverdine / chemistry*
  • Infrared Rays*
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Photons*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence*


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Biliverdine