"Fluorescent Timer": Protein That Changes Color with Time

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Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1585-1588
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1585

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We generated a mutant of the red fluorescent protein drFP583. The mutant (E5) changes its fluorescence from green to red over time. The rate of color conversion is independent of protein concentration and therefore can be used to trace time-dependent expression. We used in vivo labeling with E5 to measure expression from the heat shock–dependent promoter in Caenorhabditis elegansand from the Otx-2 promoter in developing Xenopusembryos. Thus, E5 is a “fluorescent timer” that can be used to monitor both activation and down-regulation of target promoters on the whole-organism scale.

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