What is the use of green fluorescent protein

One of the most important tools in cell biology today is the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).
This green fluorescent protein from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria was described by Osamu Shimomura in 1961. When excited with blue (or UV light), this protein fluoresces green.


Its enormous importance lies in the possibility of transforming cells and even entire organisms with this GFP gene.


For this purpose, the GFP gene is introduced into the cell alone or fused with any other protein in a gene-specific manner. The cell now either produces the GFP alone or together with the synthesis of the coupled protein.


Aequorea victoria (http://mabryonline.org)

The transformation is very complex, but the preparation is very simple and the cells are far less affected than by dyes.


There are now variants of the original GFP that also fluoresce in other colors.
They are named accordingly:

  • Blue Fluorescent Protein - BFP
  • Cyan Fluorescent Protein - CFP
  • Yellow Fluorescent Protein - YFP

Fluorescent proteins from corals are also becoming increasingly important.
e.g. Kaede from the hard coral Trachypyllia geoffroyi.



Due to the fluorescence of the GFP, the spatial and temporal distribution of the desired protein in living cells!!, tissues or organisms can be observed and analyzed directly.


Processes in the cell can be analyzed:

  • Protein production
  • transport
  • secretion
  • Dismantling
  • Etc.


Arabidopsis thaliana - GFP
Microtubule Associated Protein