Fluorescent protein-based technologies: shedding new light on the plant endomembrane system


  • Imogen Sparkes,

    1. Biosciences,College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Geoffrey Pope, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK
    2. Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
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  • Federica Brandizzi

    Corresponding author
    1. Michigan State University–DOE Plant Research Laboratory and Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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(fax +517 353 9168; e-mail fb@msu.edu).


Without doubt, GFP and spectral derivatives have revolutionized the way biologists approach their journey toward the discovery of how plant cells function. It is fascinating that in its early days GFP was used merely for localization studies, but as time progressed researchers successfully explored new avenues to push the power of GFP technology to reach new and exciting research frontiers. This has had a profound impact on the way we can now study complex and dynamic systems such as plant endomembranes. Here we briefly describe some of the approaches where GFP has revolutionized in vivo studies of protein distribution and dynamics and focus on two emerging approaches for the application of GFP technology in plant endomembranes, namely optical tweezers and forward genetics approaches, which are based either on the light or on genetic manipulation of secretory organelles to gain insights on the factors that control their activities and integrity.