The Uses Of GFP And Related Proteins Biology Essay

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The discovery of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and the emergence of GFP related proteins such as YFP and RFP contributed to the consistent progress, if not to say breakthrough, in the development of cell biology and molecular biology. As the matter of fact, the development of studies of RFP and related proteins stimulated the faster and more effective development of cell and molecular biology than in the time prior to the discovery of RFP. At the same time, RFP and related proteins still have a substantial potential in regard to further studies in the field of biology, medicine and other fields of modern science that makes RFP and related proteins extremely important and prospective in scientific and practical terms because discoveries made with the help of RFP can be applied effectively in different fields, including biology, medicine, genetics and others.

The discovery of GFP accelerated the development of cell biology and made studies in this field more reliable and accurate because GFP helped to track the development and outcomes of experiments conducted at cell and molecular level. For instance, "internal insertions of green fluorescent protein may produce functional, fluorescent subunits that traffic more correctly" (Sheridan et al., 2006, 837).

In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that "the demonstration that, using appropriate mutants and/or fusion proteins, GFP fluorescence can become sensitive to physiological parameters or activities (ion concentration, protease activity, etc.) has further expanded its applications and made GFP the favourite probe of cell biologists" (Chiesa et al., 2001, p.1). In fact, cell biologists have assessed adequately the potential and practical application of GFP, whereas the emergence of GFP related proteins, such as YFP and RFP, facilitated the further development of cell biology and molecular biology. At the same time, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the discovery of GFP was crucial, while the emergence of YFP and RFP as well as other GFP related proteins was encouraged by GFP and its usefulness and practical applicability in cell biology and molecular biology.

Along with the cell biology, RFP and related proteins are widely-applied in molecular biology. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that a recent "in-depth study of how the conjugated double-bonded structure of the p-hydroxybenzylideneimidazolinone chromophore of GFP is formed and also examined the physico-chemical environment of the chromophore" (Miyawaki, 2008, p.989). In such a way, the use of GFP and related proteins has proved to be quite effective in terms of recent studies related to the study of molecular biology.

At the same time, GFP and related proteins have a considerable potential in the field of genetics. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that "the general principles discovered in studies of GFP turned out to be applicable to a growing number of newly discovered fluorescent proteins obtained by cloning genes from nonbioluminescent cnidarians" (Miyawaki, 2008, p.989). In fact, RFP and related proteins facilitated the development of genetics because the use of RFP helped scientists to identify genes, which differ from others due to the use of RFP, which distinguish target genes from others. In such a way, researchers can track easily cells, molecules and genes, where RFP or related proteins are present, due to their visual difference and fluorescence compared to other proteins.

Furthermore, many specialists point out that the availability of numerous GFP variants has led research in the post-genomic era to even greater heights of multicolor imaging, allowing for the refinement and further development of techniques such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence cross correlation spectroscopy (FCCS), and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) (Miyawaki, 2008, p.989). However, multicolor imaging, FRET, FCCS, BiFC are not the ultimate goal of the application of RFP and related proteins but they help to conduct accurate and effective experiments and studies, which contribute to the faster development of cell and molecular biology, genetics and other fields of science. In fact, "achievements extended much further, into the fields of microscopic optical systems and analytical software development" (Miyawaki, 2008, p.989).

At the same time, RFP and related proteins stimulate interdisciplinary studies. In addition, "the green fluorescent protein can be fused to the ends of a mature glutamate receptor subunit to produce functional, fluorescent receptors" (Sheridan et al., 2006, 837). In fact, the scope of application of RFP and other proteins is wide. For instance, "in three separate experiments, all 69 fluorescent subunits were transiently expressed individually in HEK-293 cells. Independent observers visually screened each fusion protein and classified them as either bright or dim relative to the other fluorescent receptor subunits with the same fluorophore" (Sheridan et al., 2006, 839).

The study conducted by Sheridan and other researchers have revealed the fact that "fluorescent proteins inserted near interacting surfaces of subunits could potentially create reagents suitable for fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements" (Sheridan et al., 2006, 837). Moreover, "internal green fluorescent protein insertions could potentially produce subunits capable of signaling conformational changes through intrinsic changes in fluorescence intensity" (Sheridan et al., 2006, 837). In such a context, it is hardly possible to underestimate the significance of RFP and related proteins in biological studies. In addition, it is worth mentioning the fact that GFP helps correctly identify "changes in mutants with altered synaptic specificity, and can uncover new information about synaptic locations as confirmed by electron microscopy" (Feinberg et al., 2007, 353).

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning the fact that GFP, YFP and RFP can be used as sensors for cellular functions (Griesberg, 2004, 1). For instance, YFP serves as acceptor for genetically-encoded FRET sensors. In such a way, the use of RFP and related proteins expands constantly. In fact, RFP and related proteins have a significant potential, which has not been fully revealed yet. As the matter of fact the use of RFP and related proteins keeps growing and, in the future, the application of these proteins is likely to grow wider. Consequently, RFP and related proteins have a significant potential to be used in different fields of science, including cell and molecular biology, genetics and others.