Understanding, improving and using green fluorescent proteins

Trends Biochem Sci. 1995 Nov;20(11):448-55. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(00)89099-4.


Green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) are presently attracting tremendous interest as the first general method to create strong visible fluorescence by purely molecular biological means. So far, they have been used as reporters of gene expression, tracers of cell lineage, and as fusion tags to monitor protein localization within living cells. However, the GFP originally cloned from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria has several nonoptimal properties including low brightness, a significant delay between protein synthesis and fluorescence development, and complex photoisomerization. Fortunately, the protein can be re-engineered by mutagenesis to ameliorate these deficiencies and shift the excitation and emission wavelengths, creating different colors and new applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cnidaria / chemistry*
  • Dictyostelium / genetics
  • Dictyostelium / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Engineering
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins