Renilla Green Fluorescent Protein:
Discovered and Identified by Function

(c) 1997, John E. Wampler
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

The bioluminescence of the sea pansy, Renilla reniformis, is expressed as bright green waves of light that run across the surface of the colony of this soft coral when the organism is disturbed. The source of this green light is fluorescence from a protein containing an unusual chromophoric group. This protein is simply called the green-fluorescent protein or GFP. Its role in the bioluminescence system is to accept excited state energy by non-radiative energy transfer from the excited state of the luciferin oxidation product formed biochemically during the bioluminescent reaction of Renilla. This presentation is based on work carried out in the laboratory of Milton J. Cormier in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, during the 60's and 70's.
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Table of Contents


Renilla reniformis

Discovery of Renilla GFP prompted by...

Co-localized fluorescence & bioluminescence; Reynolds' system

The low-light video system used at UGA.

Localization of Renilla bioluminescence & fluorescence

...narrow green in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence

The Problem of obtaining comparable spectra


...AND broad blue in vitro bioluminescence

Suggestions of energy transfer

Purification of Renilla GFP

Spectroscopy of Renilla green fluorescence

Summary and Predictions from spectral properties

How did the predictions hold up?

High conc. in vitro bioluminescence match

Renilla mulleri, varying blue/green mix

Spectral mix seems genetically determined

Later support for the non-radiative energy transfer

Summary of role of GFP in Renilla

Annotated Reference List

Author: John E. Wampler


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