The Family of GFP-Like Proteins: Structure, Function, Photophysics and Biosensor Applications. Introduction and Perspective



In this issue, we offer a symposium-in-print that is focused on several new advancements in fundamental research related to the family of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-like proteins. A few applied aspects are also included to illustrate the impact this amazing set of colored proteins has made on our understanding of cell biology at the molecular level. The six articles presented here cut across several disciplines ranging from biological function to protein structure to photophysical aspects. These highly original pieces of work include both experimental and computational approaches, and will provide the reader with significant insight into current, state-of-the-art research activities in this very dynamic and fast-paced field. In the first part of this perspective, I will give a brief overview of the history and salient features of GFPs, cite some examples that illustrate their impact on biotechnology, and provide a brief review of the structural and chemical features that lend these proteins their fascinating appearance. In the second part, I will introduce each of the peer-reviewed contributions of the participating authors.