Tryptophan-based chromophore in fluorescent proteins can be anionic

Karen S. Sarkisyan, Ilia V. Yampolsky, Kyril M. Solntsev, Sergey A. Lukyanov, Konstantin A. Lukyanov, Alexander S. Mishin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cyan fluorescent proteins (CFP) with tryptophan66-based chromophore are widely used for live cell imaging. In contrast to green and red fluorescent proteins, no charged states of the CFP chromophore have been described. Here, we studied synthetic CFP chromophore and found that its indole group can be deprotonated rather easily (pKa 12.4).We then reproduced this effect in the CFP mCerulean by placing basic amino acids in the chromophore microenvironment. As a result, green-emitting variant with an anionic chromophore and key substitution Val61Lys was obtained. This is the first evidence strongly suggesting that tryptophan-based chromophores in fluorescent proteins can exist in an anionic charged state. Switching between protonated and deprotonated Trp66 in fluorescent proteins represents a new unexplored way to control their spectral properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number608
JournalScientific Reports
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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