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Light-Activated Reassembly of Split Green Fluorescent Protein

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journal contribution
posted on 23.03.2011, 00:00 by Kevin P. Kent, Steven G. Boxer
Truncated green fluorescent protein (GFP) with the 11th β-strand removed is potentially interesting for bioconjugation, imaging, and the preparation of semisynthetic proteins with novel spectroscopic or functional properties. Surprisingly, the truncated GFP generated by removing the 11th strand, once refolded, does not reassemble with a synthetic peptide corresponding to strand 11 but does reassemble following light activation. The mechanism of this process has been studied in detail by absorption, fluorescence, and Raman spectroscopy. The chromophore in this refolded truncated GFP is found to be in the trans configuration. Upon exposure to light a photostationary state is formed between the trans and cis conformations of the chromophore, and only truncated GFP with the cis configuration of the chromophore binds the peptide. A kinetic model describing the light-activated reassembly of this split GFP is discussed. This unique light-driven reassembly is potentially useful for controlling protein−protein interactions.

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