Fluorescent Protein Aggregation

I’m currently at MBL, teaching microscopy in the Physiology course, hence the reduced rate of posting. Not surprisingly there’s been a lot of discussion about microscopy, including a great talk from Hari Shroff (about which more later). Today we had a talk from John Allen, standing in for Mike Davidson. John gave a very nice overview of the state of the art in the fluorescent protein field. ┬áMost of what was covered is published and reasonably well known, but I did learn about a recent paper for a quantitative way of assessing fluorescent protein aggregation by fusing proteins to an ER membrane protein. Protein aggregation restructures the ER into smooth-ER like whorls that can be detected by imaging; the amount of such structures correlates with the aggregation of fluorescent proteins [1]. How well this correlates with protein function in other contexts remains to be seen, but a systematic assay for fluorescent protein aggregation potential is very welcome.


  1. L.M. Costantini, M. Fossati, M. Francolini, and E.L. Snapp, "Assessing the tendency of fluorescent proteins to oligomerize under physiologic conditions.", Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22289035