Split Green Fluorescent Proteins: Scope, Limitations, and Outlook

Annu Rev Biophys. 2019 May 6;48:19-44. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-051013-022846. Epub 2019 Feb 20.


Many proteins can be split into fragments that spontaneously reassemble, without covalent linkage, into a functional protein. For split green fluorescent proteins (GFPs), fragment reassembly leads to a fluorescent readout, which has been widely used to investigate protein-protein interactions. We review the scope and limitations of this approach as well as other diverse applications of split GFPs as versatile sensors, molecular glues, optogenetic tools, and platforms for photophysical studies.

Keywords: bimolecular fluorescence complementation; biosensor; green fluorescent protein; photochemistry; split protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Humans


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins