mTFP1 is an excellent FRET donor

Because of its excitation and emission wavelength, sharp excitation and emission peaks, high quantum yield, and exceptional photostability, mTFP1 has always been considered a very good Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) donor (1). More recently, several groups have investigated the use of mTFP1 in various FRET experiments and imaging modalities and have shown that mTFP1 is indeed one of the best choices (2, 3, 4).

In one recent publication, Padilla-Parra et al (2) tested a number of different FRET couples to determine which was the best for fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM)-FRET experiments, and found that the mTFP1-EYFP pair was by far the best pair for FLIM-FRET. This group also confirmed that the fluorescence lifetime decay of mTFP1 fits well to a single exponential, and that the time constant for this decay is unaffected by photobleaching, making mTFP1 an excellent choice for any kind of fluorescence lifetime imaging applications, including FLIM-FRET. This group also notes that it is likely that the use of Venus or mCitrine variants in place of EYFP would improve the performance of this FRET pair even further.

In a mathematical analysis of the potential FRET efficiency of mTFP1 with Venus YFP, Day et al. (3) showed that compared with Cerulean (currently the brightest cyan Aequorea GFP variant), one can expect up to 17% better FRET efficiency using mTFP1. This group went on to characterize the mTFP1-Venus pair in live-cell FRET and FLIM-FRET experiments and showed that it worked as predicted in both cases. They also note that mTFP1 has superior brightness and photostability when compared to Cerulean in live cells, which is consistent with all in vitro data reported previously (1). In a related paper, Sun et al. (4) demonstrated that mTFP1 is also an excellent FRET donor for the orange fluorescent protein mKO2.

Together, these recent independent studies confirm that mTFP1 among the best options when choosing a fluorescent protein as a FRET donor. With its proven track record of successful fusions, mTFP1 is also an excellent all-around performer that will enhance almost any live-cell imaging experiment.

(1) Ai et al., (2006) Biochem. J. 400:531-540.
(2) Padilla-Parra et al., (2009) Biophys J. 97(8):2368-76.
(3) Day et al., (2008) J Biomed Opt. 13(3):031203.
(4) Sun et al., (2009) J Biomed Opt. 14(5):054009.

AlleleBlog Admin, by Nathan Shaner

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 Allele Mail Bag, Fluorescent proteins

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