Dual-expression system for blue fluorescent protein optimization

Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 17;12(1):10190. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-13214-0.


Spectrally diverse fluorescent proteins (FPs) provide straightforward means for multiplexed imaging of biological systems. Among FPs fitting standard color channels, blue FPs (BFPs) are characterized by lower brightness compared to other spectral counterparts. Furthermore, available BFPs were not systematically characterized for imaging in cultured mammalian cells and common model organisms. Here we introduce a pair of new BFPs, named Electra1 and Electra2, developed through hierarchical screening in bacterial and mammalian cells using a novel dual-expression vector. We performed systematic benchmarking of Electras against state-of-art BFPs in cultured mammalian cells and demonstrated their utility as fluorescent tags for structural proteins. The Electras variants were validated for multicolor neuroimaging in Caenorhabditis elegans, zebrafish larvae, and mice in comparison with one of the best in the class BFP mTagBFP2 using one-photon and two-photon microscopy. The developed BFPs are suitable for multicolor imaging of cultured cells and model organisms in vivo. We believe that the described dual-expression vector has a great potential to be adopted by protein engineers for directed molecular evolution of FPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Directed Molecular Evolution*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Zebrafish* / genetics


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins