News and Events
November 9, 2015

GSC Seminar 10

image01Photo: Prof. Campbell (Left) and Prof. Suga (Right)


“Fluorescent proteins: Enabling the visualization of biochemistry where and when it happens”


Professor Robert E. Campbell
Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Canada


Professor Hiroaki Suga
Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science


Over the last two decades, fluorescent proteins (FPs) and FP-based reporters have been continually refined and optimized as tools to enable fundamental investigations of cellular physiology. Specifically, genetic fusion of an FP to a second protein of interest enables molecularly-specific high resolution visualization of subcellular structures and the dynamics of protein movement within live cells and tissues. Similarly, FP-based reporters, which are FP-containing proteins that change their fluorescence intensity or color in response to a biochemical change, have revolutionized the ability of biologists to ‘see’ the otherwise invisible world of intracellular signaling pathways. In this seminar I will provide a brief review of the principles of fluorescence and microscopy. I will then introduce natural sources of FPs and the concept of using protein engineering to improve upon their properties to make tools that are more useful for the ‘unnatural’ application of live cell imaging. Finally, I will discuss the historical and current efforts of our lab and others to convert FPs into reporters for calcium ion (a key second messenger), enzyme activities, and small molecules such as neurotransmitters.

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