Different Photochemical Events of a Genetically Encoded Phenyl Azide Define and Modulate GFP Fluorescence


  • The authors would like to thank the BBSRC (BB/H003746/1 and BB/E007384), SARTRE (G0900868), and EPSRC (EP/J015318/1 and EP/H045848/1) for funding. S.C.R. was supported by a MRC studentship supplemented by School of Chemistry. The authors thank Prof. Barry Carpenter and Dr. Simon Pope for useful discussions concerning fluorescence modulation mechanisms, Dr. Ian Brewis and the CBS Proteomics Facility for mass spectrometry, DLS for access to the synchrotron facility, Dr. David Cole and Anna Fuller for assisting with crystallography, and Johanna Jones and Rebecca Thompson for help with preliminary experiments.


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Expanding the genetic code opens new avenues to modulate protein function in real time. By genetically incorporating photoreactive phenyl azide, the fluorescent properties of green fluorescent protein (GFP) can be modulated by light. Depending on the residue in GFP programmed to incorporate the phenyl azide, different effects on function and photochemical pathways are observed.