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Glow for it

作者:郗夺    发布时间:2019-03-07 11:12:07    

By Andy Coghlan LIGHTEN up. Biology is going technicolour. Cells, even whole organisms, can now be made to glow in almost any colour of the rainbow—including, for the first time, bright red and yellow. These spectacular light shows will enable biologists to observe genes at work by labelling each one with a different colour. The new colours are possible thanks to the discovery of six glowing proteins from brightly coloured corals in reefs off the coasts of Southeast Asia. Genes for the proteins can be anchored next to the genes researchers want to study in cells or organisms—with different colours assigned to different genes. When one of the genes is active, the protein linked with it lights up in its characteristic colour, allowing biologists to track the genes individually. Until now, scientists who want to watch genes at work have relied mainly on a marker called the green fluorescent protein (GFP), discovered in Aequorea victoria,the luminescent jellyfish (New Scientist, 4 March 1995, p 23). Researchers have also made yellow-green and blue variants by mutating the GFP gene. Until now, attempts to find alternatives in other glowing organisms—such as the soft corals known as sea pens—have not met with much success. But now Moscow-based researchers led by Sergey Lukyanov at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Yulii Labas of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution have come to the rescue. They have identified yellow, red, green and cyan variants of GFP in corals (Nature Biotechnology, vol 17,

 

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