The family of proteins homologous to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria exhibits striking diversity of features, including several different types of autocatalytically synthesized chromophores. Here we report 11 new members of the family, among which there are 3 red-emitters possessing unusual features, and discuss the similarity relationships within the family in structural, spectroscopic, and evolutionary terms. Phylogenetic analysis has shown that GFP-like proteins from representatives of subclass Zoantharia fall into at least four distinct clades, each clade containing proteins of more than one emission color. This topology suggests multiple recent events of color conversion. Combining this result with previous mutagenesis and structural data, we propose that (i) different chromophore structures are alternative products synthesized within a similar autocatalytic environment, and (ii) the phylogenetic pattern and color diversity in reef Anthozoa is a result of a balance between selection for GFP-like proteins of particular colors and mutation pressure driving the color conversions.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Apr 2002|