Fluorescent proteins: a cell biologist's user guide

Erik Lee Snapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Fluorescent Proteins (FPs) have revolutionized cell biology. The value of labeling and visualizing proteins in living cells is evident from the thousands of publications since the cloning of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). Biologists have been flooded with a cornucopia of FPs; however, the FP toolbox has not necessarily been optimized for cell biologists. Common FP plasmids are suboptimal for the construction of proteins fused to FP. More problematic are commercial and investigator-constructed FP-fusion proteins that disrupt important cellular targeting information. Even when cell biologists correctly construct FP-fusion proteins, it is rarely self-evident which FP should be used. Important FP information, such as oligomer formation or photostability, is often obscure or anecdotal. This brief guide is offered to assist the biologist to exploit FPs in the analysis of cellular processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-655
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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